April 28, 1940 – October 12, 1972
Tpr. Steven B. DeVries was shot and killed by a bank robber near Niles, Michigan.
At 8:40 a.m., the Niles Post received a bank alarm in the city of Niles. The information was immediately given to Trooper DeVries, who was already on patrol. A short time later, Trooper DeVries radioed the post requesting further information. None was available. Other officers responding to the robbery observed Trooper DeVries on bypass US-12. He had stopped a vehicle containing one subject and was sitting in the patrol car talking on the radio.
A witness later appeared and stated that he had seen Trooper DeVries and the subject standing between their respective cars when, suddenly, the officer fell backward with his arm across his chest. The witness immediately contacted other troopers in the area and aid was rushed to the fallen officer. An ambulance transported Trooper DeVries to a local hospital within minutes. The medical staff worked feverishly, but unsuccessfully, to save the officer’s life. Trooper DeVries was pronounced dead at 9:10 a.m., one-half hour after he had been informed of the robbery.
Investigating officers found that Trooper DeVries had written the subject’s name and address on a note pad. The suspect was later apprehended, admitted to both the bank robbery and murder, was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in the Southern Michigan Prison at Jackson. On July 4, 1987, Trooper DeVries’ killer escaped from that institution. On December 3, 1987, he was killed in a gun battle with sheriff deputies in Mississippi, while fleeing from another bank robbery.
Trooper DeVries was the 28th MSP officer to die in the line of duty.