Berrien County Sheriff's Department
December 10, 1965
On December 3, 1965, armed gunmen targeted the Farmers & Merchants National Bank in the Fairplain Plaza, Benton Township. As the alarm was set off at the bank, 55-year old Berrien County Deputy Elton Stover and Deputy Gary Mitchell responded. Once they arrived and entered the building, it was very apparent that this was more than just a routine alarm. In an array of gunfire, one bullet fired from the bank struck Deputy Mitchell. Deputy Stover was hit next with 2 bullets, once while he lay on the bank floor. One bullet smashed through Deputy Stover's arm into the chest and abdominal cavity creating a compound fracture of the arm and major internal injuries. The other bullet shattered the thighbone in the right leg, severed the femoral artery and exited behind the knee. With both men still alive, they were rushed to Mercy Hospital where surgery appeared successful on saving Deputy Stover's leg. Deputy Mitchell suffered a shoulder injury and recovered from his wound. Although Deputy Elton Stover had been alert and able to converse and seemed to be in good spirits, his condition started deteriorating a week later and he passed away during surgery at 2:55 PM on December 10, 1965.
Elton C. Stover was born on November 21, 1910 in Berrien Springs, Michigan and resided in Stevensville. He had been a Deputy for 6 ½ years and had worked at Berrien Springs Police Department and Comstock Police Department, as well as being a Constable of Lincoln Township. His body was laid to rest in Calvary Cemetery, Benton Harbor, Michigan.