Oakland County deputy killed in line of duty during stolen vehicle investigation

The fallen deputy has been identified as Bradley J. Reckling
Bradley Reckling
Posted at 10:45 AM, Jun 23, 2024

PONTIAC, Mich. (WXYZ) — An Oakland County deputy was shot and killed in the line of duty Saturday night, the sheriff's office said.

Sheriff Michael Bouchard identified the fallen deputy as Bradley J. Reckling, 30, who had been with the department for nine years. He was a husband and father of three young children — ages 5, 4 and 1 — with a fourth child on the way.

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The sheriff's office held a press conference Sunday afternoon to provide information about the incident.

The full press conference can be watched below.

Authorities provide information after Oakland County deputy killed in line of duty

Bouchard said a car was stolen between 1 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. on Saturday at Red Oaks Water Park in Madison Heights. The victim in the car theft is a Rochester Hills resident, Bouchard said.

The sheriff’s office’s auto theft unit started looking for the car, which is a 2022 Chevrolet Equinox.

Three detectives were searching for the vehicle in Detroit, Bouchard said. A detective found the vehicle and was behind it. The driver stopped the stolen vehicle, people got out and shots were fired at Reckling. Bouchard called the shooting “an ambush.”

Reckling was shot in the head, chest and torso area. An officer down call was made around 10:50 p.m. Saturday.

The shooting happened near Park Grove and Schoenherr streets on Detroit's east side.

Reckling was driving an unmarked car and wearing plain clothes while working undercover. Since the car was unmarked, it did not have a dash camera.

Detroit police and Michigan State Police responded to the scene quickly, Bouchard said. Three people were taken into custody.

“(Detroit Police) Chief White called me within minutes,” Bouchard said. “Detroit police and MSP helped set up a hard perimeter and within that perimeter, three individuals were taken into custody.”

The department will focus on supporting Reckling's family, Bouchard said.

"The focus of this for us, obviously in addition to getting justice from the criminal justice system, is how we support a family... and an agency that's been crushed," he said. "You know, things like this are soul-crushing."

The sheriff said the community can support the family, department and community by praying.

He also said the department has charity called Mission Oakland that people can donate to. Mission Oakland is a licensed charity and 100% of the donations will go to the family, Bouchard said. Bouchard said to put in the memo that it's for Deputy Reckling.

The family has also set up a GoFundMe for Reckling's wife and kids. A third donation page has been set up by the the Oakland County Deputy Sheriffs Association Family Benevolent Fund.

Bouchard said the community can also support the sheriff's office.

"It's been a challenge. It's been a stretch. Looking in the face of our people and seeing their pain, it's been tough on them," the sheriff said, adding the loss of another deputy, the shootings at Oxford High School and Michigan State University and the recent splash pad shooting in Rochester Hills.

"It's like a boxer. You wonder how many punches they can get and still stay (sane)," he continued. "I'm super proud of our people, the way that they've stayed standing, the way they have shown up and continued to do amazing things every day."

Bouchard emphasized the need for more resources for his department, especially mental health support. He called again on local, state and federal officials for more resources. He's looking for a second peer-to-peer mental health liaison for the community.

Reckling worked “extensively at the Rochester Hills substation,” according to Bouchard. Reckling recently started working in the auto theft unit.

“Detective Brad Reckling was one of best detectives I’ve ever worked with. He was one of the hardest working detectives I’ve ever worked with. He was one of the hardest working cops I knew,” Bouchard said.

Several of Reckling’s colleagues wrote messages about who he was and Bouchard read some of those during the press conference.

Local officials and police departments released statements about the tragedy. You can read those below:

Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter:

“I am heartbroken to learn of the shooting death of one of our Oakland County Sheriff deputies. Please keep him, his loved ones and county colleagues in your heart today. I’ve been in contact with Sheriff Bouchard to offer support to sheriff’s office employees during this difficult time.”

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald:

“I was shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Oakland County Sheriff’s Deputy Bradley Reckling. On behalf of all of the attorneys and staff at the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office, we send condolences to Deputy Reckling’s family and friends, and we mourn alongside Sheriff Bouchard and everyone at the Sheriff’s Office. Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe. This was a senseless murder and a terrible loss for our entire community. It’s also another tragedy caused by gun violence, which continues to take a tremendous toll on our community.”

Michigan State Police:

"The MSP sends our sincerest condolences to the @oaklandsheriff, family and friends of Deputy Bradley Reckling."

Michigan State Police Second District:

"We are heart broken over the line of duty death of Deputy Brad Reckling. Our community has lost a hero, a wife a husband, and his daughters their dad. Please keep the @oaklandsheriff and the Reckling family in your thoughts and prayers."

Waterford Police Department:

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Oakland County Deputy that was killed in the line of duty last night. Please keep him, his family and loved ones, and everyone at the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office in your thoughts and prayers as well."

Michigan State University Police and Public Safety:

"Our thoughts are with the Oakland County Sheriff's Office as we learned this morning that one of their deputies was killed in the line of duty. Our hearts are heavy as we keep Deputy Bradley Reckling, his family, loved ones, and colleagues in our thoughts. It is with immense respect that our MSU Police Officers will wear mourning bands on their badges to honor and mourn the fallen deputy."

"𝘐𝘯 𝘝𝘢𝘭𝘰𝘳 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘏𝘰𝘱𝘦." – 𝘛𝘢𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘶𝘴

Michigan State Rep. Kelly Breen:

“Any first responder’s death in the line of duty is a tragedy, but coming on the heels of officers coping with the recent mass shooting in Rochester Hills is horrific. While it’s poor solace, I’m glad Michigan State Police personnel were able to quickly make arrests, and I hope the accused are swiftly brought to justice. My heart goes out to Detective Reckling’s family and to all the brave men and women in the Sheriff’s Department who continue putting their lives on the line to keep our hometowns safe.”

ATF Detroit:

"It is with deep sorrow to learn fellow law enforcement officer Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Bradley Reckling was killed in the line of duty. Our thoughts are with the @oaklandsheriffDeputy Reckling’s family, and loved ones, as they process this horrific loss."