Det. Robert R. Gonser was shot and killed by an unknown assailant while working surveillance in the city of Inkster, Michigan.
During the investigation of a complaint, Detective Gonser and his partner were leaving an observation point in an unmarked car when they were confronted by four subjects in another vehicle. The suspects used their vehicle in an attempt to block the officers’ path, but Detective Gonser drove around them.
As the two vehicles passed, the officers heard the subjects shout obscene threats and order them to stop. Detective Gonser saw a rifle in the suspect vehicle and attempted to flee. There was a volley of shots erupting from the other vehicle and Detective Gonser was struck by a bullet that had entered the police car through the tail light. He slumped against the driver’s door and lost control of the car. His partner regained control of the vehicle and drove off the roadway, preparing for further assaults. None came.
Detective Gonser was the 23rd MSP officer to die in the line of duty.