Mich. Deputy Killed by Suspects in Stolen Car: 'It Was an Ambush'

June 23, 2024
Oakland County Sheriff's Deputy Bradley J. Reckling was shot multiple times in the head and torso when suspects in a stolen car he was following jumped out and opened fire.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said a deputy searching for a stolen car Saturday night was shot to death by three suspects who abruptly stopped the car, exited the vehicle, and opened fire.

Deputy Bradley J. Reckling, a nine-year veteran of the department, was struck multiple times in the head and torso and died from his injuries.

The 31-year-old married father of three young girls — ages 5, 4, and 1, with a fourth child on the way — had worked at the Rochester Hills substation before joining the department's auto theft unit. He was a graduate of Romeo High School in Macomb County.

"It was an ambush," an emotional Bouchard said, adding later, "... over a car."

The situation started after a Rochester Hills resident reported their 2022 Chevrolet Equinox had been stolen from the Red Oaks Water Park in Madison Heights.

Reckling and two other Oakland County sheriff's investigators, in separate vehicles, had searched for the stolen car, eventually finding it at Park Grove and Schoenherr streets in Detroit.

Bouchard said the officer down call came at 10:50 p.m. Saturday, June 22, and Detroit police flooded the area, setting up a hard perimeter for the search. Three suspects were later apprehended. Bouchard said information about the criminal case will come from Detroit police.

He thanked the Detroit Police Department personnel and leadership, as well as other agencies who responded to assist at the scene.

"I was shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Oakland County Sheriff's Deputy Bradley Reckling," Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said in a statement. "On behalf of all of the attorneys and staff at the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office, we send condolences to Deputy Reckling's family and friends, and we mourn alongside Sheriff Bouchard and everyone at the sheriff's office.

"Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe. This was a senseless murder and a terrible loss for our entire community. It's also another tragedy caused by gun violence, which continues to take a tremendous toll on our community."

The county executive also addressed the tragedy.

"I am heartbroken to learn of the shooting death of one of our Oakland County Sheriff deputies," County Executive Dave Coulter said in a statement. "Please keep him, his loved ones and county colleagues in your heart today."

While the case now moves through the criminal justice system, the sheriff spoke about the impact of the loss on the deputy's family as well as on his co-workers.

Just last week, the sheriff detailed the need for more resources to help police personnel process all the stresses they encounter, from the daily deaths on roadways to searches for suicidal people to the major events, such as the mass shootings at the Rochester Hills splash pad, Michigan State University, and Oxford High Schools.

"It's been a challenge, it's been a stretch," Bouchard said Sunday. "And now this."

He called for federal, state and county officials to make funding available for peer-to-peer resources to help law enforcement personnel learn healthy ways to process the tragedies they encounter.

While he was able to create a single position in his office, Bouchard said one person is not enough for a nearly 1,500-person department.

"(They) continue to do amazing things every day.," he said. "They see these things every day. You cannot un-see them."

Now, though, the sheriff said the main goal is to be there for the family, who have lost a father and husband.

Described as a hard-working police officer by peers and his commander, they also shared that he loved the outdoors, especially fishing, and had recently remodeled his home for his growing family. They recalled his love to laugh and to joke with colleagues.

To help the family, the sheriff said 100 percent of donations to Mission Oakland would go to support them. If writing a check, he said to put the deputy's name in the memo.

Deputy Reckling wore badge #1972.


(c)2024 The Oakland Press, Sterling Heights, Mich.

Visit The Oakland Press, Sterling Heights, Mich. at https://www.theoaklandpress.com/

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