Police Officer Robert Edward Neelis

Police Officer Robert Edward Neelis

Springport Village Police Department, Michigan

End of Watch Sunday, November 30, 1980

Add to My Heroes

Robert Edward Neelis

Police Officer Robert Neelis died from complications of a gunshot wound sustained earlier in the morning when his partner's pistol was inadvertently discharged as it was handed between the two officers in the village police department.

The two had been practicing dry-firing their .38 caliber service revolvers but had reloaded them in preparation to return to patrol. The other officer then noticed he had a cut on his finger and believed it was the result of a defect on his gun. He was handing the gun to Officer Neelis to examine it when it was inadvertently discharged, striking Officer Neelis in the mouth. The wound itself was not considered fatal, however, he was disoriented while emerging from anesthesia following emergency surgery and he accidentally pulled the endotracheal tube from his throat. The tube's removal caused immediate complications and he died minutes later.

Officer Neelis had only served with the Springport Village Police Department for 3-1/2 weeks and also served with the Michigan Civil Air Patrol. He was survived by his parents and siblings.


  • Age 22
  • Tour 3 weeks
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire (Inadvertent)

accidental discharge, police facility

Most Recent Reflection

View all 1 Reflections

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
Matthew 5:9

Chris Di Gerolamo
Federal Air Marshal Service (Retired)

March 12, 2024

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.