Raymond Rexer and Terry Jablonski

Raymond Rexer (left) and Terry Jablonski (right)

On April 26, 1991, two Bay City police officers were tragically killed in an ambush.

On April 26, 1991, two Bay City police officers were tragically killed in an ambush.

Officers Raymond Rexer and Terry Jablonski were gunned down on the city's east side after being the first to arrive to a domestic disturbance call.

The officers were gunned down by brothers John Knapp, then 30, and Jeffery Knapp, then 28, on that warm, sunny Friday about 5 p.m.

The officers were driving into the working-class neighborhood a short distance from downtown Bay City to quell a brewing neighborhood disturbance.

“There's inherent dangers and unpredictability, especially as a patrol officer. The most dangerous part of police work is the patrol function because you really don't know what you're going to be getting into,” Bay City Public Safety Director Michael Cecchini said.

John Knapp was in a dispute with a family across the street from him over dating a 14-year-old girl. The girl's family called police for help.

Both responding officers were familiar with the Knapp brothers and their criminal records for minor offenses. When they arrived on scene, Rexer - a married father of two and 14-year police veteran - and Jablonski - a 23-year veteran, also father of two and engaged to be married for a second time - were caught in a hail of bullets.

Jeffery Knapp came out of his house with a long gun wrapped in a blanket. The officers focused on him, as John Knapp ambushed the two, opening fire with a .22-caliber rifle.

Jablonski returned fire and Jeffery Knapp began shooting. Jeffery Knapp was arrested outside his home right after the shooting and John Knapp fled the scene before eventually surrendering.

A jury convicted John Knapp of first-degree murder. Jeffery Knapp is serving two concurrent terms of 56 to 126 years for second-degree murder. He won't be eligible for parole until 2049.

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