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Published: Tuesday, 1/18/2011

Livonia officer, burglary suspect die in shootout


LIVONIA, Mich. — A southeastern Michigan police officer was shot to death Monday night in an exchange of gunfire with two burglary suspects, one of whom also died, the Livonia police chief says.

Chief Robert Stevenson said during a news conference that Officer Larry Nehasil, 48, was killed in a shootout around 6 p.m. Monday in Walled Lake, which is about 10 miles north-northwest of Livonia.

Stevenson said the two suspects were trying to break into a house when police tried to take them into custody and gunfire erupted. The suspect who survived was taken into custody.

He said Nehasil was a 20-year veteran of the suburban Detroit police agency.

“Larry was hard-working. Larry sought out the most dangerous assignments,” the chief said. “Larry always had a smile. . He will be greatly missed by our department.”

Before joining the Livonia police department, Nehasil worked for the Wayne County sheriff..

“My heart goes out to the family, friends and colleagues of this dedicated public servant,” Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon said in an e-mail message. “He stood in the gap to protect others from harm and for that Officer Nehasil will always be remembered as a hero.”

Stevenson said additional information about the shootings would come from the Oakland County sheriff's department. That agency had no further information late Monday.

“This is the first felonious loss of an officer in the history of the Livonia police department,” said the chief. He said an officer died in a traffic accident in the 1950s.

Nehasil spent about five years working in the department's intelligence bureau, Stevenson said. He said the officer was married with two children.

Livonia Mayor Jack Kirksey described Nehasil as a friend.

“A situation like this, it just tears you apart,” Kirksey told WWJ-AM.

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