Benton Township Police Department
April 29, 1970
Sgt. Robert Stevens arrived at the Holmsted Restaurant at Napier Avenue and I-94 shortly before 3:00 AM with fellow officer Berrien County Deputy David Tiefenbach. As they sat drinking coffee, hitchhiker Earl Everett Harrison entered the restaurant and approached Sgt. Stevens from behind. In a flash, Harrison ripped the revolver from Sgt. Steven's holster and shot the officer at point blank range. Harrison then began to run towards the back of the restaurant as Deputy Tiefenbach leaped up and fired two rounds at him. Just about to enter the restaurant was Detective Fred Reeves and Officer Keith Diamond. After hearing the shots, Reeves bolted towards the back of the restaurant and after but he failed to stop when ordered, Reeves opened fire, hitting Harrison 3 times. The wounds were not fatal to Harrison although Sgt. Robert Stevens wasn't so lucky. An autopsy performed showed that Sgt. Stevens was shot in the back, apparently as he dove for the floor to get out of the line of fire. The bullet traveled on an upward course, exiting in the left arm area.
Robert Stevens was born on October 13, 1933 in Benton Harbor, Michigan and graduated from Benton Harbor High School in 1952. He served in the Marine Corps following high school and joined the Benton Township Police Department in April of 1961. He was promoted to Sergeant in 1963.