Vigil held for Detroit police officer killed from shooting

The Detroit Police Department is mourning the loss of one of their fallen brothers.

Sgt. Kenneth Steil died after complications from a gunshot wound suffered in a shootout last week.

It was a tough day for the men and women who worked closely with Sgt. Steil. They said he was not only an incredible officer - he was the nicest guy you will ever meet.

With heavy hearts, dozens gathered around Sgt. Ken Steil's squad car. It is now a memorial outside Detroit's Ninth Precinct. They lit candles to honor the fallen officer loved and respected by his peers and the public.

Tashawn Claybren drove in from Roseville to pay her respects.

"This touches my heart," she said. "To know that, that man gave his life for the city."

But the pain runs even deeper for those who worked with "Shark" as he was known.

"He was a great, great guy," said Officer Adlan Balija. "Love him to death, I miss him."

Balija remembers the last time he saw Steil. Like he did so many times, he showed up to a priority call to see if his officer was alright.

"We recovered a fire arm from that guy and Shark came up to the location where I was at, to see if I was okay," Balija said. "I never got to say goodbye. I  never thought this was going to happen it's hard."

Days later Steil was going after a 21-year-old Marquise Cromer, who had allegedly shot his father and was on the run. Cromer is accused of pulling the sawed off shotgun at Steil, shooting him in the shoulder.

It was an injury he was expected to recover from, but on the same day Steil was expected to be released from the hospital and go home to his wife and two little boys, he died from complications due to a blood clot.

"He is somebody's son," said Andrea Clark, an activist from Mothers of Murdered Children. "So that's why I felt compelled to do this candlelight vigil tonight. We are bridging the gap between community and law enforcement."

Andrea Clark's son was murdered five years ago, also leaving children behind, who will be forced to grow up without a father because of the senseless violence community leaders say erupts on the streets of Detroit far too often.

"I'm here to stand and show support say to Detroit we can't be our own worst enemy," said Pastor Mo Hardwick.

"I brought my baby so he could see, so he won't be a part of the problem," said Claybren.

Visitation will be held at Wujek-Calcaterra & Sons funeral home, 36900 Schoenherr Road, Sterling Heights from Wednesday, Sept. 21 from 4-9 p.m. and Thursday Sept. 22 from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. with a rosary from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

His funeral service will be held at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, 22412 Overlake, St. Clair Shores. The family hour is 10 to 11 a.m. with the funeral service beginning at 11 a.m.

A scholarship fund has been set up for his children and their educational needs. The Ken Steil Scholarship Fund can be found at Detroitpublicsafety.org through the Detroit Public Safety Foundation.

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