Vernon Gottwald Obituary Death – I have some really disappointing news to relay. Vernon Gottwald, who had lived in Fridley for a very long time, passed away on July 20, 2023. He was 95 years old. Vern spent his entire childhood in Fridley, where he attended Columbia Heights High School and earned his diploma. As an army Sergeant, Vern was stationed in Korea for a total of seven months.
Vern started his law enforcement career in 1953 by joining the Anoka Police Department. On August 15, 1953, he started working for the Fridley Police Department. Vern served as the Acting Chief of Police until May 1954, when he was promoted to the full-time position of Chief of Police and remained in that role until September 1954. On April 16, 1955, Vern resigned from his position as a police officer in Fridley.
Vern joined the Anoka County Sheriff’s Department in April 1955 and worked his way up to the rank of Deputy Sheriff throughout his time there. The manhunt and firefight that took place on September 14, 1957, involving Vern and his companion James Sampson, was the largest in the history of Anoka County. When Vern and his companion Jim Sampson were searching for a gas can, they came upon one of the O’Kasick brothers who was in possession of it.
The man was granted a ride by the deputies Gottwald and Sampson, but as they neared the vehicle that had been disabled, gunfire broke out. A month previously, Minneapolis Police Officer Robert Fossum had been murdered, and the O’Kasick brothers were wanted for their involvement in the crime.
Deputy Sampson was shot, but he fired back at the attackers. Gottwald was running out on ammunition, so he tried to summon help, but the deputies were trapped in the situation.
A captive was taken by the O’Kasicks, which led to a chase that ended up in the vicinity of the Carlos Avery Game Farm. It was possible for Deputy Sampson to crawl to the squad and make a call for assistance. As the firefight continued, law enforcement from all around the county arrived to the scene. In the end, not only the captive but also two of the three O’Kasick brothers were taken out of the picture. The third brother was arrested, and he ultimately passed away while incarcerated.