Widow of Sgt. Ken Steil: 'The world lost a hero'

Detroit police Sgt. Ken Steil died after being shot in the line of duty.

Steil's grieving widow is speaking to Charlie LeDuff about the man she and her children loved so much.

"We always took the boys to school together and I would go to work and he would pick them up," said Joann Steil. "But instead, this time, his officers took them to school."

If the problem in America is truly the need for good police, then Sgt. Ken Steil was surely the solution.

Consider: in a 20-year career with the Detroit Police Department he took the most difficult and dangerous jobs. He was a squad leader decorated for valor. He never once discharged his firearm.

His work file contains no discipline or misconduct complaints of any kind.

Consider how he lost his life: succumbing to a shotgun blast from a maniac who had shot his own father. Someone called. Sgt. Steil answered.

None of that seems to matter now. He’s gone.

What will ultimately be remembered about Ken Steil, the finest accomplishment in his short life, will surely be his family. His wife. His two boys. His brothers and sisters in blue.

"I just want everyone to know the Ken that we knew at home," Joann said. "Everyone sees him out in his uniform, but nobody knows how he is at home. What a beautiful father he is, and I speak of him in the present, because he is with us.

"I just want everybody to know that the week that Ken was in the hospital he said 'I'm just glad this happened to me and not any of my other guys.' That's the type of person Ken is.

"He said 'Joann, I'm not even mad or angry at the man that did this. I'm just glad to be here for my boys. I'm glad to be here to raise my boys'. As sad as it is, it was the most beautiful week we had.

"I'm asking you to relay this to the world that I lost a husband, the boys lost a father, but the world lost a hero. And he forgave the person who did this to him. And I forgive the person who did this to him, because I know in my heart if he knew what he took from us, he wouldn't have done it.

"I just think that we need ... I know that we need more love in this country right now. And his death is not going to happen in vain. It didn't happen in vain."

LeDuff: "Do the boys know?"

"Oh, absolutely," she said. "In the middle of the night they will wake up and say 'Mommy? Daddy died.' And then my little one wakes up and calls for his daddy. So, and I just say 'Daddy is here with us. You just pray and he'll hear us."

Thank you for your service Detroit police Sgt. Kenneth Steil, you shall not be forgotten.

"He was taken from us much too early, but God needed a soldier and he couldn't have taken a better one from us."

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