Deputy Sheriff Bryan Sleeper Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department, North Dakota EoW: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 County Sheriff's Department, North Dakota

Deputy Sheriff Bryan Sleeper

Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department, North Dakota
End of Watch: Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Biographical Info

Age: 39
Tour of Duty: 4 years
Badge Number: 4837

Incident Details

Cause of Death: Heart attack
Date of Incident: September 28, 2011
Weapon Used: Person
Suspect Info: In custody

Agency Contact Information

Sheriff Pat Heinert
Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department
PO Box 1416
Bismarck, ND 58502
Phone: (701) 222-6651

Deputy Sheriff Bryan Sleeper suffered a fatal heart attack while assisting another deputy arrest a combative subject at about 12:45 am.
The other deputy had attempted to stop the man for speeding, but the suspect refused to stop and drove to his home. During the ensuing confrontation, the man was tased twice before Deputy Sleeper could handcuff him.
Deputy Sleeper collapsed moments later. He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A Burleigh County Sheriff’s deputy died Wednesday morning after assisting with the arrest of a DUI suspect who is accused of leading officers on a vehicle chase and then threatening them with his fists.

Deputy Bryan Keith Sleeper, 39, was transported by ambulance to St. Alexius Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead just before 1 a.m. An autopsy showed he died of natural causes.

Sheriff Pat Heinert said Sleeper suffered a heart attack while trying to subdue 46-year-old suspect Robbie Del James Roberson, who has been charged with a variety of crimes including terrorizing, preventing arrest, DUI, fleeing in a motor vehicle, speeding and driving without a license.

Sleeper began his law enforcement career with the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department in 2007 and served as the department’s medical training officer. He was also a member of the West Dakota SWAT Team. Prior to joining the sheriff’s department, Sleeper had served as a correctional officer for the North Dakota Department of Corrections.

Heinert described Sleeper as energetic and ambitious. Heinert also said Sleeper passed a physical earlier this year and appeared to be in good health.

“I can’t quit shaking right now,” Heinert said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

The incident began shortly after midnight when Deputy Jon Eide attempted to stop a 1987 Honda Civic driven by Roberson. The suspect’s vehicle continued into the Lincoln Meadows Trailer Park and finally stopped near Roberson’s residence. Sleeper had arrived on the scene to assist Eide with the traffic stop.

When Roberson exited the vehicle, he became confrontational with the two deputies, according to the sheriff’s department. A report distributed by the department noted that Roberson was verbally and physically “non-compliant” and persisted to yell and approach deputies in an aggressive manner with closed fists.

Eide deployed his electronic control device, a Taser, but Roberson continued to resist as the deputies tried to handcuff him. After a second electronic charge, Sleeper was able to subdue and handcuff Roberson.

At that point, Sleeper began to experience distress and collapsed. Eide responded by administering first aid until ambulances and other officers arrived on the scene. Within minutes, Sleeper was pronounced dead.

Sleeper is survived by his wife, two step-sons, a step-daughter and a grandson.

It was the second line-of-duty death in the history of the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department. Deputy George Piepkorn was killed when he was stabbed while trying to arrest a suspect during a domestic dispute on Nov. 19, 1930, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Fifty-one North Dakota law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty in the state’s history. It was the second line-of-duty death in North Dakota this year. Bismarck Police Sgt. Steve Kenner was shot and killed July 8 while responding to a domestic disturbance.

Heinert said he believes his department’s jurisdiction has become a more dangerous place for law enforcement officers in recent years.


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