Weld County Sherriff’s Deputy Sam Brownlee, was killed in the line of duty in 2010 after a police chase, after suspect Rueben Reyes got out of the stolen car, Brownlee tackled him to the ground and was fatally shot when Reyes pried away his own gun. Reyes died after being shot by a Colorado Police Officer.
5 years later Sam’s squad car was to be auctioned off on to benefit C.O.P.S (Concerns of Police Survivors), an organization that helps survivors of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. Tanner Brownlee wanted to own a part of his father's legacy, and after nearly five years since losing him, Tanner had a chance to buy his dad's squad car at auction.
Unfortunately, Tanner had not planned on the bid for the car being so high, and the bidding price quickly surpassed what he could afford. The young man's hopes were crushed when local farmer Steve Wells outbid Tanner, paying $60,000, even though the car's Kelley Blue Book value was only $12,500. But seconds after the auctioneer handed Wells the keys to the squad car, the farmer turned to face Tanner, "Tanner? Here's your car," said Wells as he handed the young man the keys. The entire room erupted in applause as an emotional Tanner accepted Wells' gift, thanking and hugging him for his incredible generosity.
Originally Steve was going to buy the car for the Women’s Shelter, and then he found out about Tanner’s story and he decided to buy it for him, even though the two had never previously met. The man who won the bid was Steve Wells, a local rancher who owns several acres of oil-rich land in the area.
He declined an interview, saying he did not want to take the moment away from Tanner and his family. Tanner said he plans to keep the car forever, and to one day, hand it down to his kids.
Now that's a story!
DENVER 7 NEWS
(photo Getty Images)