by Heidi L. Everett
Fallen St. Joseph Police Officer Brian Klinefelter was remembered Jan. 29 on the 25th anniversary of him losing his life in the line of duty.
Family members, friends and law enforcement from the St. Joseph Police Department and Stearns County Sheriff’s Office were on hand for the remembrance and wreath laying ceremony. Members of the color guard stood watch over the memorial for two hours near the intersection of County Roads 75 and 133 where Klinefelter was killed in 1996.
Klinefelter was shot while attempting to arrest three suspects who had just robbed a liquor store in Albany. Two rounds were stopped by his vest, but two others struck him in his neck and waist. He died one hour later at the age of 25 years old, leaving a wife and 3-month-old daughter.
After a chase, the suspects split up. Two were found hiding under a deck, arrested and charged with first degree murder. The shooter was killed after taking a man hostage and then getting in a stand-off with law enforcement, aiming a gun at a Benton County sheriff’s deputy and refusing to drop the gun.
The remembrance ceremony included a moment of silence as well as reflections from colleagues who remembered getting the call “officer down” that night. As one member of the color guard said, “A hero remembered never dies.”