Special Officer Gerrit George Brandsma

Special Officer Gerrit George Brandsma

Grand Rapids Police Department, Michigan

End of Watch Wednesday, December 7, 1921

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Gerrit George Brandsma

Special Officer Brandsma and Detective Samuel Slater were shot and killed after responding to a house to arrest suspect bank robbers, four men and a woman. Detective Slater and Officer Brandsma were acting on a tip that said two suspected bank robbers were at a house on Weaver Street SE. The tip was thought to be false by Detective Slater since so many tips had been false throughout the day. Detective Slater elected to take just one officer, Officer Brandsma, to assist him.

As the officers arrived at the home of the tipster, who lived across from the suspect's home, the suspects saw them and turned out all the lights. The two officers watched the home for a short time, and then decided to go knock on the door.

As the two officers were walking up the sidewalk leading to the door of the suspect's home, shots rang out. Detective Slater was shot through the door.

Officer Brandsma rushed the door and forced his way into the home but was shot several times when be entered the home and was killed instantly. Detective Slater staggered back to the tipster's home where he collapsed. He was brought to the hospital by responding officers and died two days later.

The suspects escaped in a stolen car. One of the suspects was captured in Detroit, convicted of murder, and sentenced to life. On August 16, 1931, during a riot at Marquette Penitentiary, a rioter shot him in the chest as he risked his life in an attempt to save the prison doctor and a fellow inmate whom the rioters killed. He recovered, and out of appreciation for his heroism he was released on May 4, 1932.

On December 18, 1922, four men and two women in Denver, Colorado, robbed a federal mint bank truck of $200,000. As they fled from the scene a bank guard jumped on the running board of their car and shot one of the robbers. A month later the car, with his frozen body inside, was found in a remote area near Denver. He was identified as one of the suspects who murdered Officer Brandsma and Detective Slater. The other two men were identified but never captured. It is not known if they were involved in the Denver mint robbery.

It was later discovered that one of the two women involved in the Denver mint robbery was also involved in the Grand Rapids robbery in which Officer Brandsma and Detective Slater were later killed. On March 10, 1932, she and another woman were found in a burned out car near Turtle Lake, Wisconsin. Both had been shot to death.

Officer Brandsma was survived by his wife and five children.

Bio

  • Age 38
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge 11

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Not available

Most Recent Reflection

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Rest in peace always and please know that your service and sacrifice will never, ever be forgotten by your fellow law enforcement.

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

September 4, 2020

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