Mason James Samborski
(1980 - 2008)

Mason James Samborski

April 10, 1980

December 28, 2008

This site is dedicated to Mason James Samborski.

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Guest Book (5 entries)
I remember. May God bless you and your family.
Deborah Mathis (Oak Park resident)
November 29th, 2016
In deciding to convict Jonathan Belton of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Oak Park Public Safety Officer Mason Samborski, jurors were mostly united throughout their deliberations -- and deeply saddened, two of them told the Free Press on Monday.

"Everybody took it very seriously, and we all felt that we came up with the correct verdict," said juror Julie Brown, when contacted by phone Monday.

Brown said she and her fellow jurors spent their 10 hours of deliberations over three days methodically going over the evidence presented during the five-week trial.

"We filled up pages of notebooks -- who was credible, who wasn't, what was evidence, what wasn't," she said. Jurors also used a whiteboard to review the case.

There had been some speculation that jurors were considering a lesser charge -- or even an acquittal -- because they sent a note Thursday asking Oakland County Circuit Judge Rae Lee Chabot whether a guilty verdict was appropriate if the fatal gunshot wound to Samborski's head was the result of an accident.

"It's all a little frustrating to hear that there was a lot of disagreement, because there wasn't," Brown said, declining to speak specifically about deliberations.

A fellow juror who agreed to speak only if not identified, said that by the close of Thursday, the vote was 11-1 to convict. The holdout, the juror said, was "able to separate the facts from the emotion," and voted to convict Friday morning.

The juror said defense attorney Geoffrey Fieger's closing argument, in which Fieger repeatedly brought up race, was "highly offensive." Belton is African American. Samborski was white.

The juror said the entire panel was "sad, of course for the family of Mason Samborski, but for the Belton family, too. It was just a tragic set of events."

The Free Press sought the juror list Friday, but Chabot sealed the names at the jurors' request. The judge released the names Monday, after being contacted by Free Press attorney Herschel Fink, who cited state law that mandates the public release of the names unless a threat to jurors' safety can be demonstrated.

Belton, 18, will be sentenced to life in prison without parole Dec. 14.

Read more: Jonathan Belton jurors say guilty verdict was right, they were sad | | Detroit Free Press
Anonymous Anonymous
December 4th, 2010
Oak Park Public Service Officer Mason Samborski believed that teens sometimes make mistakes and do stupid things, but that alone doesn't make them criminals.
On December 28, 2008, Oak Park Public Safety Officer Samborski acted on that ideal, trying to give a break to the 16-year-old kid he'd pulled over for a minor driving offense. Tragically, it cost the dedicated officer his life. It was 1 a.m., just three days after Christmas. Officer Samborski stopped the teen, who was driving away from a residential area. It was the same area where Samborski's fellow officers were seeking suspects in a crime that had just occurred.
The youth had no driver's license or photo ID. The Michigan Secretary of State showed no record of a license for the name the teen gave Samborski. Officer Samborski had seen many similar cases in his more than three years with the department, but he knew each case is different and that he must make a decision on this specific young man. He had to weigh the benefits of taking a 16-year-old youngster to jail for a minor driving offense instead of helping his fellow officers search for suspects in a more serious crime.
The teen told Samborski that he lived in an apartment just around the corner. There would be an adult there, he said, for Samborski to talk to. Knowing this was the same apartment where his fellow officers were conducting their search, Samborski decided to take the boy to his home, turn him over to the adult and then quickly rejoin his colleagues. Samborski patted down the young man and put him in the back of the patrol car, but he felt no need for handcuffs. He even allowed the teen to park the car he'd been driving rather than having it impounded. Samborski then drove him to the nearby apartment, released the teen from the back seat and waited at the front door of the complex until some- one buzzed them in. But it was a teenage girl -and not an adult -who greeted them. The teen driver had intentionally misled him. At this instant, the formerly cooperative young man dashed for the door with Samborski in pursuit. Knowing his fellow officers were in the very same building, Samborski radioed for help.
He then overtook the teen, and the two struggled. But before his back-up officers reached the scene, an apartment resident called 911 to report that an officer was down in the vestibule.
Although it took only minutes for his fellow officers to arrive, they were too late. They found Samborski lying in the lobby on his back. The suspect had disappeared.
Tragically, Samborski had been shot in the head with his own weapon, which the teen had grabbed during the struggle. The officers' frantic at- tempts to save Officer Samborski's life proved futile.
Police captured the fugitive teen later that day. He was charged with first-degree murder. Although Samborski didn't know it, the teen who murdered him had strong gang affiliations and had previously been arrested for assaulting a police officer.
Samborski, the first Oak Park officer killed in the line of duty in 30 years, left a wife and year-old daughter.
Oak Park Public Safety Officer Mason Samborski was a man who believed that even those who violate the law should be respectfully treated. He died living true to his values.
Anonymous Anonymous (Anonymous)
November 13th, 2010
— A teenager was arrested Sunday in connection with the fatal shooting of a suburban Detroit police officer who had stopped him for driving without a license, police said.

The Detroit teenager surrendered to police a few hours after shooting Oak Park Officer Mason Samborski, police said.

Samborski, 28, stopped the 16-year-old driver of a Jeep Grand Cherokee during the early morning. The officer put the teen in his squad car and drove him to a nearby apartment complex, apparently seeking an adult to take custody of him or someone who could establish his identity, Chief John McNeilance said.

A struggle occurred at the apartment and Samborski was shot once, the chief said. He wouldn't say if the officer was shot with his own gun.

A neighbor called police. Emergency crews tried to revive the officer, but he died at Providence Hospital.

"It's the worst possible thing that can happen in a police department," McNeilance said. "Obviously, our officers are devastated."

The teen apparently fled in the Jeep but surrendered about 2:25 p.m. at a police station in nearby Detroit. He was being held there while police sought murder charges.

Police declined to identify the teen.

Samborski had been with the Oak Park police force for four years, said Department of Public Safety Lt. Mike Pinkerton. He was married with one child.
anymous anymous (anymous)
October 26th, 2010
This is the memorial I set up for Mason James Samborski. To add your own comment, click on the "Add Comment" button below.
BJae Trombley
June 8th, 2009
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"Justice was done Oak Park Police Officer Mason James Samborski may you now Rest In Peace"
Anonymous Anonymous
July 23rd, 2011
"Poor Oak Park Police Officer Mason James Samborski RIP!!!"
BJae Trombley
October 26th, 2010


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