Fallen Niles trooper honored FridayPublished 9:35pm Wednesday, October 10, 2012
The first and only member of the Michigan State Police Niles Post killed in the line of duty will be honored Friday by the MSP.
Trooper Steven B. DeVries was shot and killed at age 32 by a bank robber after a routine traffic stop on U.S. 12 on Oct. 12, 1972.
Michigan State Police will lower the flag to half-staff and perform a 21-gun salute at 11 a.m. Friday at the Niles Law Enforcement Complex. Officers will also place a small wreath at the site of the incident Friday morning — the 40th anniversary of DeVries’ death.
A 1972 incident
Around 8:30 a.m., Oct. 12, 1972, a man wearing a motorcycle helmet robbed the First National Bank of Southwestern Michigan on Lincoln Street of around $40,000.
A short time later, DeVries stopped a green car — the suspect vehicle — on the U.S. 12 bypass between Portage and Weaver roads. DeVries was shot in the head while questioning the suspect, according to a report in the Oct. 12, 1972, issue of the Niles Daily Star. DeVries was then taken to Pawating Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Investigating officers found DeVries had written the subject’s name and address on a note pad. The suspect was later apprehended, convicted and sentenced to life in prison. On July 4, 1987, DeVries’ killer escaped from the Southern Michigan Prison at Jackson. On December 3, 1987, he was killed in a gun battle with sheriff deputies in Mississippi, while fleeing from another bank robbery.
DeVries was the 28th MSP officer to die in the line of duty since the creation of the MSP in 1917.
Lt. Melina Logan, assistant post commander MSP Niles Post, said five MSP officers from Berrien County have died in the line of duty, including DeVries. A total of 50 MSP officers have died in the line of duty.