Home arrow Sounding Off arrow Sounding Off arrow “MY FRIEND AND PARTNER WAS KILLED”
Written by Ray Fairman   
A good friend of mine, Emery Esse, who is a retired Detroit SRT cop and a current police chaplain in the Colorado Springs area tells his story.

He dedicates this article to his friend and partner, Frank Walls, who gave his life not only for his comrades, but for his city. He was a hero to Emery and to a lot of other folks as well. Emery also dedicates it to the “Special Response Team” of the Detroit Police Department. To find out about how this and another life changing event impacted his life, click on "Read More".

He is a messinger unto thee for good and not evil

The story unfolds

My name is Emery Esse. I'm an former Detroit cop. I retired in December of 1989. This is my story. It's really a two-part story…

I had been a Detroit cop for several years when the department started a “Special Response Team” (SRT) in 1987. The “team” was a highly trained anti-terrorist unit. To be a member of this team was my dream! To me the SRT was the “Marine Corps” of the Detroit Police Department. (I had been in The Marine Corps before joining the police department).

The physical requirements were tough, as were all the other requirements, but, I passed and became a member of the team. A team that over a thousand cops had tried to join.

Our team spent the next fourteen months in training. We were eventually certified by the state of Michigan in the policing of terrorist incidents. Our first operation was on October 17, 1988. A call was dispatched indicating that a mentally disturbed man was pouring gasoline around an apartment building. The patrol unit responded and went to the apartment indicated in the call and knocked on the suspect's door. The door opened just a little, and one of the officers could see the suspect, walking around in circles, carrying a rifle. The officer backed off and called his supervisor, who responded and also observed the suspect walking around with the rifle. The supervisor then declared the situation a “barricaded gunman.” Instead of calling the Special Response Team, the Tactical Service Section (TSS) was summoned to the scene. The TSS arrived and set up and then the negations began.

A Lieutenant who was a friend of mine went into the hallway. Unfortunately he was not wearing any body armor. He tried to kick the door open. The gunman told him not to do that. The Lieutenant was ordered out and told to put on a vest. Instead of complying, he kicked the door again. When he kicked the door this time the gunman fired through the door, striking the Lieutenant in the chest. The Lieutenant was declared “dead upon arrival” at the hospital.

We, the “Special Response Team”, were finally notified and told to come to the scene. My team, “Alpha Team”, was to be the primary entry team, with “Bravo Team” acting as the support team and “Charlie Team” handling our armored vehicle. We all met at the scene. When we arrived, an executive deputy chief learned we were there and ordered us back to our base. We were understandably disappointed, but an hour later we were summoned back to the scene. We were not given a chance to rehearse, as we would like to have done. We were briefed and then we drove to the back of the building. Once there, we had the power cut off to the building. We were carrying not only our pistols, but also MP5's. The news media had been permitted to enter the area and because of their presence and fearing what they would think of our MP5's, a superior officer ordered us to put our MP5's in the trunks of our vehicles. Thus we had to enter with only our pistols . We began to move in and set up in the hallway. All teams were soon in place. My partner in “Alpha One”, Frank Walls, took a position in front of the door with his bunker shield in front of him, and I was behind him. As we drew closer, one of the ranking officers had his radio on full blast. The gunman heard the radio and knowing we were there he began to shoot through the walls at us! He missed all of us. Our superior officers discussed among themselves if we should be pulled out because of the gunfire. The decision was made to leave us there. So there we were being shot at through the walls. The armored vehicle pulled to the front of the building and began to fire tear gas into the apartment. The ranking officer did not wait long enough to let the gas take affect. He ordered us to ram the door. However, we had left our ram behind and wanted to send a team member to get it. The ranking officer refused to let us go and get it. We were told to ram the door with the bunker shield. So my partner, Frank Walls, ran into the door with the shield and after the third time the door caved in. We were ordered to make a “crisis entry”. Anyone who knows anything about SWAT, knows that you DON'T do a “crisis entry” on a barricaded gunman when there is no hostage involved. But, we were ordered to make the “crisis entry” anyway and cops generally follow orders. When the door caved in all we heard was somebody shouting, “Move, move, move”. One of the Sergeants from the “Charlie Team” outside the building threw a stun grenade through the kitchen window as a diversion. Frank and I made our entry right after the stun grenade went off. A TSS sniper was the last person to spot the
suspect, who was at that time moving to the northwest corner of the room. However, by the time we entered the room the gunman had moved and none of us knew it. When Frank made his “crisis entry” he ran for that corner. As he entered, a shot was fired hitting Frank in the back just three inches below the armored plate that was in his second chance command jacket. Frank turned around, looked at me and said, “I'm hit”. He fell down dropping his bunker shield and gun to the floor.

I stood there looking for the gunman and hollering at Frank “where is he, where is he.” I did not know that my good friend and partner was dead. The gunman then shot me at. The “flash” of his gun gave away his position. He was in a prone position in a little hallway off the bathroom. I saw him getting up. I pointed by pistol toward him and started firing at him while heading for cover. I fired eleven rounds and got ready to reload. (We were trained to never shoot dry and my training had now taken over). Out of the eleven rounds, I hit the gunman seven times killing him. I then ran back to Frank. I started screaming at the other team members to get Frank out of the room. I couldn't
move him. I had the suspect's rifle in one hand and my pistol in the other. Frank Walls, the former Marine, my partner, my friend was dead. (yes We were both former active duty Marines and perhaps that was one reason why we had been so close to each other).

Back at our base we changed back into our dress uniforms to report to homicide. That had to be the most awful day in the history of the Detroit Police Department and in my own life as well. My friend and partner was killed.

Well, I was kicked off the team shortly thereafter because I had complained about the manner in which our superior officer handled this situation. It was said that “I broke down” when I spoke to the board of review and the next thing that I knew I was being forced to retire from the department. That was a sad time in my life. However, my story by no means ends there. Please, read on…

I was born and raised a Moslem, a Shiite Moslem. After graduating from high school, I joined the Marine Corps. I served two and a half months in Vietnam and after three years was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. In 1970 I married my wife Margie, who I had met in my senior year of high school, during my first leave home after "boot camp".

After we had been married for five years, my wife and I were invited to church by my sister-in-law and her husband. So I went to church with them thinking it wouldn't hurt anything. When my wife and I got married, we had made a written agreement that our children would be raised Moslem. My wife who was Catholic at the time had no problem with this. We had both agreed to remain true to our religions. Even her priest gave his blessing to this.

Well, when we finally went to church with my sister-in-law and her husband, it turned out to be a Bible church. We heard the gospel preached. My wife started to cry and went forward at the invitation for prayer. She went into another room with a couple of men from the church. Being a former Marine and a Detroit cop, this made me a bit jealous. However, several minutes later she came out of the room. I'll never forget the glow of happiness on her face. People in that same church came and asked me if I knew Jesus but I would only reply that I was a Moslem and I believed in God and that was good enough for me. I can remember responding with a little bitterness toward the people as I kept my eyes on my wife wondering what was going on with her. That day as we left the church I looked at my wife and asked her, “Are you still a Catholic?” She replied, “No, I'm not”. I asked her how that could be. She said that she would explain it to me later. Then I told her, “If I ever catch you showing the Bible to our son you have had it… that's it for you!”

For the next two years that same church continued in prayer for me. Meanwhile, I made life miserable for my wife. I wouldn't even let her use the car to go to church. So she found a church nearby and would walk to it, even on snowy days! It was a two mile walk. I would even hide her Bible from her and I also began to take our son to the Moslem Mosque every Sunday, something I usually would not do! I was actively fighting the Lord. Christian men from that same church would come and witness to me, but I always tried to ignore them.

Two and a half years later, I went with my wife to that same church and saw a movie called, “Burning Hell”. A couple of months later I had a dream that I was in combat running with another soldier. We both jumped in a foxhole that was really a bottomless pit! We landed in hell at the feet of the devil! It was so real to me. The devil started laughing. He pulled out a big knife and started stabbing the guy who was with me while continuing to laugh. I kept trying to stop him but he would laugh even more. Then I woke up and I got out of bed and got down on my knees. I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and come into my heart and save me. As soon as I did that I was filled with an unbelievable joy in my heart. I knew that I was saved. I woke up my wife and told her. She said, “That's nice” and went back to sleep. I knew she would think that she was dreaming when she woke up in the morning.

I came home from work that day and she was there to greet me wearing a big smile. She was still
thinking that she had just dreamed it all. I went into the bedroom to take off my uniform. She followed me in with tears welling up in her eyes as she became even more convinced that it was all a dream. I couldn't take it any more. I asked her, “Did you call Jerry & Mary? (My brother-in-law and sister-in-law) Then it hit her, it was not a dream, I had really given my heart to the Lord Jesus! She started rejoicing and I joined in with her.

That very night I went to church and made a public confession of my faith. I told that fellowship that at 4:30 AM on August 26, 1975 I accepted as my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. That was the greatest moment of my life. I thank the Lord for dying for a “scum-bag” like me.

I presently live in Colorado and I try to help my brother officers by instructing them in tactical training. I have spoken to many police departments and have never charged a penny. I do it for the love of my brother officers and because I want them to stay safe and go home to their families. I have also led a lot of Detroit cops to the Lord Jesus Christ. I want to reach more cops for Jesus. I want them to turn to Jesus instead of booze, drugs, and sex. Those high risk behaviors are not the answer. I pray that God will use me in a mighty way to glorify and honor His name and to reach many other brother and sister officers.

For you who read this article and don't know Jesus as your Savior, please ask Him to come into your heart and save you. For “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.” My favorite verse in the Bible is, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me”. Jesus is the ONLY way. Oh, one more thing, STAY ALERT…STAY ALIVE!!! God bless.

Chaplain's Note: Emery is now also a missionary with Mission Mobilization International (MMI). This is a group of Christian Men who teach Tactics and CQB techniques to foreign Law Enforcement and Military personnel as they also present the Gospel of Christ to them. There always seems to be a solid response to their message as Emery's newsletter trumpets each time it comes out. There is a link to the MMI website under links on my home page.

One last thought. Emery is right when he says the wages of sin is death, but as he states, that verse goes a bit farther. It says that the gift of God is eternal life with Christ. Brothers and sisters are you patrolling a scenic highway to heaven or are you still barreling down that interstate to Hell on your own power?

You do know don't you that we aren't promised that every shift will be followed by another roll call? Life is fleeting and as Emery pointed out, Jesus is the Way, The Truth and The Light. Without Him you are headed for eternal agony and isolation. Sure there will be lots of people in Hell, but they will be all alone in darkness and torment. Try reading Luke 16: 19-31. There is no chance to receive your salvation after this mortal life is over.

None of us are perfect, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and any real Christian will tell you that we are all still sinners. We are not "sinless", just "sin less" and feel guilty when we do transgress after surrendering to Christ.

It is only by the shedding of His blood at Calvary that we are made righteous. Our works, however humanitarian we may think they are, are as filthy rags when set before our King.

If you have never turned your life over to Jesus, consider rectifying that omission right now in the quiet of wherever you are and ask Him to be your Lord and Savior today. Just admit that you have sinned against Him, tell Him you are sorry for the things you have done, thank Him for dying for you and your sin and ask the Son Of God to enter your life now and take control of it. Ask Him to forgive you and lead, guide and direct you through the minefields of life. Its a choice that will never be regretted and one that will result in a peace that passes all understanding.

However, I would be remiss if I failed to tell you that Satan will not take your decision lightly, he will counterattack as quickly as possible, while you are still a new and somewhat weak creature in the Lord. So don't waste time finding a Church fellowship and try to locate some other LEO's who are Christians as well. They will help strengthen you in both your spiritual and professional careers.

God bless you all

Chaplain Fairman

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