Detroit police chief honors hero grandfather at funeral

62-year-old John Villneff died protecting his granddaughter during shooting at Detroit home


DETROIT – A Detroit man shot to death while protecting his grandchildren was eulogized today by family members and by Detroit's police chief.

"We are very moved at what he did," said Chief Ralph Godbee, speaking of 62-year-old John Villneff. "He is a hero in no uncertain terms."

The deadly shooting happened last week on Rutland Street when four men beat up the Vietnam War veteran's 16-year-old grandson during a robbery next door.

Three younger siblings ran to Villneff's home and that's when his 12-year-old granddaughter began taking pictures of the suspects. One of those suspects opened fire with an assault rifle. Villneff was hit while standing in his doorway.

"He didn't even think about it. He just stepped in front of the bullets without hesitation. That's what makes a true hero," said his son, Michael Villneff.

Godbee presented the family with a certificate which reads:

"Mr. Villneff's selflessness, honor and acts of bravery transcended the battlefields of Asia," said Godbee. "His commitment to his family and community is truly worthy of remembrance."

Police have arrested one man in connection with the shooting. 

John Villneff, 62
John Villneff, 62