“I’m glad it was me who took the hit and not one of my guys.” - Captain Ken “Shark" Steil
Captain Ken Steil was shot in the line of duty and died on September 17, 2016 due to complications which arose from the gunshot wound. He leaves behind his loving wife, Joann, and their two young boys, Alexander & William, just 3 and 5-years-old.
Called an "American hero" and a "superhero" by the press, his family and many friends he leaves behind, Sergeant Ken Steil was promoted posthumously to Captain for his bravery and 21 years of outstanding service to the City of Detroit and its residents. Ken was a certified Dive Master Trainer and the instructor of the Detroit Police Underwater Recovery Dive Team, earning him the nickname “Shark."
Ken was “one of the really good guys” who proudly played a key role in reducing shootings by 50% in Detroit's most dangerous precinct. He did so while maintaining an excellent record and never discharging his gun during his long career. Ken was known to go above and beyond the call of duty, often counseling those he arrested and offering suggestions on how they could make positive changes to turn their lives around. Ken was a very humble man who never spoke of his own accomplishments, instead giving credit to his team.
After being shot, Ken told Detroit’s Mayor Duggan, “We’ve saved lives, we’ve avoided tragedies, we’ve made people’s lives better… I don’t know whose lives I saved, and they don’t know me, but I know this is what I was meant to do.”
Ken told the many people who visited him in the hospital that he was so grateful he survived the shooting and would be around to raise his young boys, Alexander & William. Nothing meant more to Ken than his young sons. Tragically, just minutes after they hung up their 7-foot long hand painted “WELCOME HOME” sign in anticipation of their father being released from the hospital that evening, their dad passed away due to complications from the gunshot wound.
In addition to mourning the loss of her husband and trying to explain to her young boys what happened when they ask, “When is Daddy coming home?” Joann is now faced with the monumental and financially challenging task of being a single mother.
The tributes for Captain Ken Steil and all of the support for our family have been overwhelming. It's impossible to list all of the wonderful people who have been there for our family. Thank you! We are still in shock over this tragic loss of an amazing father, husband, son, brother, brother-in-law, cousin, nephew, uncle, Godfather, friend, diver & police officer.
We sincerely appreciate your kindness, generosity and support of Joann, William & Alexander. Thank You & God Bless You!