Hundreds mourn at funeral for slain Elk River officer and son


Elk River police officer Todd Besser and his son Blake were mourned by hundreds of people at their funeral service Sunday afternoon.

Todd Besser, 49, and Blake Besser, 27, were shot to death in a St. Michael home on May 9.

Besser's 21-year-old son, Christopher, has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with their deaths.

Among the speakers at the service, which was held at Elk River High School, was Todd Besser's oldest brother Scott. He described their childhood with their two other siblings in Hermantown as "idyllic," filled with music and sports and faith.

Scott Besser said his brother Todd truly enjoyed his 16 years with the Elk River police department, and especially his four years as a school liaison officer.

He added that Todd was always kind and faithful to his family; in addition to Blake and Christopher, Todd had another son, 24-year-old Derrick.

"Todd loved his boys," Scott Besser said. "He was always there for them."

He described his nephew, Blake, as a "gentle soul" with a "joyful" personality.

Scott Besser's last words for his brother and nephew were, "we love you, we're going to miss you until we see you again."

And to his nephew Christopher, his message was, "we love you, we forgive you and we are here for you."

After the service, a procession traveled to Orono Cemetery in Elk River for Todd Besser’s burial. Blake Besser will be buried Monday.

The investigation

Christopher Besser told investigators he was “processing events and issues from the past” when “he just snapped” and grabbed a firearm from the gun cabinet and fatally shot his father and older brother, charges filed against him claim. He is being held on $2 million bond in the Wright County jail.

Christopher Besser told investigators he was fed up with his father, who “expected things of him.”

Christopher and Blake Besser lived in the St. Michael home with their other brother, Derrick Besser, 24, who wasn’t home at the time of the fatal shooting. Todd Besser was living in Otsego with his wife, Gwen, whom he married about a year and a half ago.

Besser was the first officer the Elk River Police Department has lost to violence in its history.

Next Up

Gopher Football

U of M-barrassed: Gophers shocked by Bowling Green

The Falcons snapped a 21-game non-conference winning streak in front of a homecoming crowd.

Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins applies for exemption to COVID vaccine, is rejected

Wiggins could miss a large chunk of the season without the vaccine.

CJ Ham

Vikings-Seahawks: 5 things you can count on happening

Can the Vikings finally beat Russell Wilson?

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Residents asked to be on the lookout for at-large suspect in Sauk Rapids

The suspect was last seen near the intersection of Garden Brook Drive Northeast and Strawberry Court Northeast.

Towerside Innovation District

Aquifer energy storage project wins financial backing of Mpls city council

It'll be used to power the Towerside Innovation District near the U of M.

Screen Shot 2021-09-25 at 10.02.45 AM

Bomb threat prompts school evacuation in central Minnesota

A search of the building did not find any suspicious items.

Pexels - beer outside patio brewery

Brewery, taproom moving into former Twin Cities newspaper space

Loons Landing officially signed the lease this week.

Vic Richfield auto theft PD - rectangle crop

Police: Car with dog inside stolen from outside Twin Cities liquor store

They're asking people to be on the lookout for the vehicle.

John Hofer - Chisago County Sheriff's Office

Murder charge filed over inmate's death at Chisago Co. Jail

The man suddenly became unresponsive and died while in a holding cell.


Funeral set for slain Lake City officer

Family and friends of Lake City police officer Shawn Schneider will gather this Saturday, January 7. His funeral is set for 1 p.m. at First Lutheran Church in Lake City. Officer Schneider was shot during a domestic dispute two weeks ago. The 32-year-old remained in critical condition at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester for 11 days before he died of his injuries Friday.