Members of the 100 Club will gather at a banquet at the Detroit Athletic Club Wednesday night to celebrate unsung heroes in public safety, including Sgt. Donald Scher of the Royal Oak Police Department.
The 100 Club honors law enforcement and rescue workers who go above and beyond the call of duty.
Honored for valor
Scher was nominated for his bravery by Interim Police Chief Corrigan O'Donohue for an incident that involved a gunfire-filled police chase on Nov. 12, 2010.
The incident began when two men entered a Metro PCS Store located at 822 E. 11 Mile Rd. and asked to look at cell phones. A few minutes later, mayhem broke out on 11 Mile Road with a police chase on the well-traveled route between downtown and I-75.
During the pursuit, the Tommie Gene Threatt, 65, of Ypsilanti, and Willie Kirksey, 50, of Detroit fired several rounds at pursuing officers.
“At great personal risk, Sgt. Scher rammed the suspects’ vehicle to prevent their escape, and effectively ended a very dangerous pursuit through a residential neighborhood.” O’Donohue said.
Scher ordered the men to “freeze” with their hands up, but both attempted to flee on foot, a few blocks north of 11 Mile, near Farnum and Curry.
When the driver appeared to be going for his weapon, Scher fired two rounds from his handgun before observing the other suspect exiting the passenger side of the vehicle. When he disobeyed commands to get on the ground and started to turn towards Scher, the sergeant fired a round, striking him, and he went down to the ground, O’Donohue said.
Threatt had a felonious record stretching back 49 years. Kirksey, who suffered a minor gunshot wound, was a close second, with an armed robbery conviction in 1978 and several convictions after that.
Threatt was found guilty on Sept. 8, 2011 of armed robbery, fleeing and eluding police, two counts of assault with intent to commit great bodily, felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm. He was later sentenced to 35-60 years in prison. Kirksey was found guilty of armed robbery on July 14, 2011 and later sentenced to 30-60 years in prison.
"Throughout this incident, Sgt. Scher placed his life in harm’s way to protect others," O’Donohue said. "His bravery and 'never give up' determination resulted in the arrest of two extremely dangerous armed felons who had proven they would do anything to escape."
About the 100 Club
The 100 Club was born in Detroit in 1952, following the fatal shooting of a young Detroit officer.
According to 100Club.org, Pontiac automobile dealer William M. Packer was so moved by the officer’s death that he wrote to 100 of his friends and asked them to donate to a fund for the fallen officer’s expectant widow. He received a 100 percent response rate. After reviewing the widow's finances, he arranged to pay off her mortgage, pay all the bills, and set up an education account for the child she was carrying.
Today, 100 Clubs exist in cities and counties across the country, offering support to families of uniformed public service personnel in some of the most trying times.
"To the best of my knowledge no Royal Oak officer has ever received this award before," O'Donohue said. "It is a very prestigious award and Sgt Scher is very deserving."
Note: O'Donohue was notified that Scher won the award in 2011, but due to a scheduling glitch, Schler never received his recognition - that will finally happen this Wednesday.