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Gone but not Forgotten

Gone but not forgotten

Sergeant David Ward Mack

End of Watch : November 2, 1986

Minneapolis PD
Died November 2, 1986

On December 13th, 1979, officers went to 2807 Pillsbury Avenue South to execute a search warrant for stolen property. Officers also had information that there were possible narcotics involved. Officers knocked on the door and rang the doorbell, but when no one answered, they decided to do a forced entry and entered the home announcing their presence. Although several times they had announced, “police officers, we have a search warrant,” several shots were fired out of the darkness. Sgt. Bob Skomra was shot in the abdomen and left the residence. Other officers radioed for help the same time the suspect was on the phone with the police saying he had just shot someone breaking into his home. The officers convinced the suspect they were the police and he put down his gun and exited the home. The officers then found Officer David Mack lying on the kitchen floor with gunshot wounds to the neck and abdomen.

Two years after the shooting, Mack came out of a coma, but lived as a quadriplegic and communicated with the help of a spelling board. He started running a high fever and died from infections at HCMC on Sunday, November 2, 1986, at 6:55 p.m., seven years after the shooting. The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide. Officer Skomra recovered from his injuries and returned to work.

The suspect, Riley Housely III, was now free. He was convicted of first-degree assault, but that was overturned in 1982 when the Minnesota Supreme Court found insufficient evidence to prove that Housely hadn’t shot in self-defense. There was virtually no chance he would be tried for murder because of double jeopardy.

Officer Mack was 43 years old. He was survived by his wife, Marlies, and sons Dennis, 21, and Tom, 15. He had been with Minneapolis police since 1968. His funeral was held at St. Anthony Padua Church in Northeast Minneapolis on Tuesday, November 4th. He was buried in Fort Snelling National Cemetery.