Private Michael Donell Stephenson

Private Michael Donell Stephenson

Richmond County Board of Education Public Safety, Georgia

End of Watch Wednesday, July 16, 1997

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Michael Donell Stephenson

Private Michael Stephenson was shot twice and killed while making an arrest. He had responded to a burglary alarm at an elementary school at 4:30 am. Upon arriving at the scene he saw a subject walking on the school grounds carrying a backpack.

He detained the suspect and placed him in the rear of his cruiser without handcuffing him. To avoid complaints from parents, the Board of Education policy at the time prevented officers from handcuffing students.

The suspect had managed to conceal a gun in his hat and, while still seated in the back of the patrol car, opened fire on Private Stephenson as he spoke to a janitor who had responded to the alarm. Despite being wounded twice, Officer Stephenson was able to return fire, but did not strike the suspect.

The boy fled the scene but was later arrested. He was convicted of Private Stephenson's murder and was subsequently sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Private Stephenson had served with the Richmond County Board of Education Police Department for two years and had a total of six years experience in law enforcement. He is survived by his wife and two young sons.

Bio

  • Age 29
  • Tour 6 years
  • Badge 19

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Sentenced to life

Most Recent Reflection

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Thank you for your service and please know that your sacrifice will never be forgotten. Rest in peace always.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

July 16, 2020

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