Archived Story

Ask Trooper Rob: Troopers train as school liaisons

Published 11:03pm Wednesday, June 6, 2012

This week’s article wraps up the school year. The past two weeks I have been in training and preparing for summer projects. Recently, the MSP hosted another weeklong training session for the Teaching, Educating and Mentoring Program. We trained 23 troopers, deputies, and officers from across the state in this award-winning police-school liaison program. Two officers from Iron Mountain even drove more than 11 hours to attend at the MSP Academy. They are now prepared with training and curriculum to begin teaching in the schools in September.

Last week, 12 community service troopers attended a basic training of Community Emergency Response Team Training. Next week, six of us will attend training for instructor qualification.
This will allow us to begin training volunteer teams for emergency preparedness and emergency response. More details will follow for this training to you, the citizen.

It has been an excellent year making contact with the students and teaching them basic safety skills, information on the law and taking responsibility for their communities. Across the state, your community service troopers have taught thousands of classes reaching thousands of students in Michigan in all grade levels, including preschool and college students.

Detective Robert Gosner, 33, enlisted in the MSP on May 17, 1956. As a trooper, he was assigned to East Lansing, Ithaca and Grand Haven prior to his promotion to detective and being assigned to the Detroit Post. As a detective, he was assigned to the Special Investigation Unit, Second District Headquarters.

During the late 1960s ongoing racial unrest and violence was peaking due to the 1967 Detroit Riots and the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King.

Tensions were high between police and black militant groups in the metro Detroit area. On Aug. 7, 1968, the MSP received a call for assistance from the city of Inkster following an outbreak of civil disturbances.

Just before 3 a.m. Aug. 8, 1968, Gosner and his partner, Frederick Prysby, was conducting mobile surveillance of black militants suspected of instigating the disturbances. Gosner was driving the unmarked, maroon, 1968 Mercury slowly on Middlebelt road when an oncoming car occupied by four black persons pulled close alongside them and someone in the car yelled “Stop!”

When Gosner saw one of the individuals reaching for a rifle, he accelerated to get a safe distance beyond the car. Suddenly, there were several gunshots and Gosner slumped back, yelling “I’m hit, I’m hit!”
Prysby reached over and steered the vehicle into a field and took up a defensive position with the issued M-1 carbine. The .30 caliber rifle slug had penetrated through the car’s left taillight and seats from behind, striking Gosner in the back. He was rushed by ambulance to the hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

After a 10-month investigation, three suspects were arrested.

One of the four persons in the vehicle testified at a preliminary exam, implicating the other two male passengers.

One of them, Darnell Summers was bound over to Circuit Court for first degree murder.

Summers, an Army soldier, was deployed to Vietnam after the murder and was later returned stateside by military authorities to stand trial for the shotgun-ambush of two Inkster Officers on the night of Aug. 7. He pled guilty to reduced charges and was given a light prison sentence just days before being charged with Gosner’s murder. The earlier witness recanted and charges were dismissed without prejudice, which means charges could be brought again.

In 1982, the case was reopened when the female driver agreed to turn state’s evidence and testify against Summers. She later failed to show up in court and again, the charges were dropped without prejudice.

This case has never been fully adjudicated, and no one has ever been convicted of Gosner’s murder.

A U.S. Marine during the Korean Conflict, Detective Gosner became the 23rd MSP officer to die in the line of duty and is buried in Spring Lake. His widow was presented with the valor medal.

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