ELK RIVER, Minn. (WCCO) — Tonight we are learning more about the relationship between an Elk River officer and the son who confessed to killing him.

Todd Besser was killed last Saturday night in St. Michael.  Shortly after, his middle son, Blake, was also shot and killed.

Officer Besser’s partner and friend, Officer Mark Edlund, talked with WCCO Wednesday.

“Those boys were the lights of his life and of course Gwen,” Edlund said.

Above Todd Besser’s desk still sits photos of his three boys and his new wife, Gwen.

Partners and friends for more than 15 years, Officer Edlund worked close by.  He’s said he can’t understand why it seems one of the sons he loved dearly is the reason his desk sits empty.

The two worked together on what would be Todd’s last shift. Mark said Todd sat with him over coffee hours before he was killed as Mark described the recent loss of his grandmother.

“I was looking forward to seeing him the next day and working with him and I was out with my family and I got the call about 8:30 or so, devastated,” Edlund said.

Mark said the family had been through a lot, but he didn’t know details.

A report from 2011 sheds some light into that past. It was for a 911 call for Chris for a suicide attempt. Chris told an officer he was “a disappointment to his father” and “couldn’t even pass school.”  It said Chris, who was only 17, appeared intoxicated with a level of .098 and that he was “smacking himself,” saying that he would never live up to anything.

“I know Todd well enough that whatever was going on he was trying to work through it and help his son,” Edlund said.

He’s confused as to how a man who worked many a crime became a victim.

“You get home, you try to decompress, you feel that you’re safe in your environment and apparently with Todd it wasn’t,” Edlund said.

Officer Edlund said Todd’s widow told him Tuesday she forgives Chris and loves him. Edlund will be one of many officers to help memorialize Todd Besser on Sunday at Elk River High School.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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