Michigan Cop Killer, Kills Self in Florida As United States
Marshals Come up the Stairs
Timothy William Berner, a
U.S. Marshals "15 Most Wanted" fugitive, ended his seven-week run, early
this morning in Jacksonville, Fla., with a self-inflicted gunshot to the
Berner, 34, was wanted for the June 4 killing
of Sterling Heights, Mich. police officer Mark Anthony Sawyers. Officer
Sawyers was shot in the head as he sat in his police cruiser writing a
report. Sawyers' service weapon is believed to have been taken by Berner.
Acting on a citizen's tip, phoned-in to the
"America's Most Wanted" television program, Deputy U.S. Marshals entered a
two-story house on the south side of Jacksonville at 5:30 this morning. As a
team of deputies climbed the stairs to the second floor, Berner shot
"America's Most Wanted" has featured Berner
multiple times. Recent tip information had placed Berner everywhere from
Michigan's upper-peninsula to New Mexico.
A 1994 red Camaro captured in the
surveillance camera as he drove away from the murder scene in Sterling
Heights was found backed into the driveway outside of the house in
Jacksonville, still displaying Michigan license plate YSR497.
Berner's fatal bullet also went through a
wall striking a deputy marshal in the arm as he was climbing the stairs. The
bullet had lost enough velocity, that the deputy's wound was not serious.
Berner was added to the U.S. Marshals "15 Most Wanted" fugitive list July 1.
He was also wanted for a series of bank robberies in Michigan. On two
occasions this spring, bank robbery surveillance videos reportedly showed
him brandishing a shotgun. Authorities believe he may have killed Officer
Sawyers to obtain a more concealable weapon for other crimes.
The house entry teams were comprised of
deputy marshals from the U.S. Marshals' North Florida Fugitive Apprehension
Strike Team, the South Georgia Fugitive Squad, the Atlanta-based Southeast
Regional Fugitive Task Force, deputy marshals from the Great Lakes Regional
Task Force and special deputy marshals who were officers
from Sterling Heights, Mich., Clay County and Jacksonville, Fla. police and
Timothy Berner was a dishonorably discharged
Marine, and had worked as a nightclub bouncer in Detroit and in the Windsor
Ontario, Canada area. Berner had also worked part-time as a professional
wrestler under the name, Vic Vengeance.
wanted poster and news release.
Annually, U.S. Marshals arrest
more Federal fugitives than all other federal law enforcement agencies
combined. U. S. Marshals Public Affairs
phone: 202-307-9065 .