Hundreds mourn at funeral for slain Elk River officer and son

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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.

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