Police Officers John Balcerzak and Joseph Gabrish Escorted One of Jeffrey Dahmer’s Victims Back Into His Apartment

Jeffrey Dahmer, subject of the Netflix series DAHMER — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, killed more than 15 people between 1978 and 1991, including 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone. He’s one of Dahmer’s most talked-about victims and it’s not because of the way he was killed — it’s because police officers John Balcerzak and Joseph Gabrish intervened only to send Sinthasomphone back into Dahmer’s apartment. Find out how Sinthasomphone nearly escaped the Milwaukee Cannibal, what Balcerzak and Gabrish had to do with it, and what happened to the officers after Dahmer was arrested for multiple murders. 

Brayden Maniago as Somsack Sinthasomphone, Kieran Tamondong for Konerak Sinthasomphone in 'Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story'
Brayden Maniago as Somsack Sinthasomphone, Kieran Tamondong for Konerak Sinthasomphone | Netflix

Konerak Sinthasomphone nearly escaped Jeffrey Dahmer

14-year-old Sinthasomphone was invited to Dahmer’s apartment on May 27, 1991. There, he posed for pictures in his underwear until Dahmer drugged him and performed oral sex on him. Then, Dahmer drilled a hole into Sinthasomphone’s skull and injected hydrochloric acid into his frontal lobe. When he was unconscious, Dahmer reportedly left the apartment in search of alcohol (The Shrine of Jeffrey Dahmer). 

Upon returning home, Dahmer found Sinthasomphone sitting outside of his apartment. Sandra Smith, Tina Spivey, and Nicole Childress called the police, who responded to a reports of a “man down.” When Officers Gabrish and Balcerzak arrived on the scene, Dahmer was standing with Sinthasomphone.  

He reportedly told the officers Sinthasomphone was his 19-year-old houseguest who had too much to drink (via On Milwaukee). Gabrish and Balcerzak chalked it up to a domestic situation and escorted Sinthasomphone and Dahmer back inside. After they left, Dahmer injected a fatal dose of hydrochloric acid into his victim’s skull.   

John Balcerzak and Joseph Gabrish were fired, then rehired with backpay

After killing people for more than 10 years, Dahmer was arrested in July 1991. Later, in 1994, Dahmer was murdered in prison by fellow inmate Christopher Scarver. Meanwhile, officers Balcerzak and Gabrish were fired by Police Chief Philip Arreola in September 1991 on the basis of gross negligence. 

Later, the officers appealed their firing. They were reinstated to the Milwaukee Police Department with back pay in April 1994 by Reserve Judge Robert Parins. 

Where are John Balcerzak and Joseph Gabrish today?

According to On Milwaukee’s article from 2016, Gabrish became a police office in Grafton, Wisconsin, in 1993. “He has since been promoted to the rank of Captain and is second in command of the department,” the outlet reported. Gabrish is also the Chief of Police for the Town of Trenton in Wisconsin. 

Meanwhile, Balcerzak was a Milwaukee police officer at the time the article was published. “He was elected as president of the Milwaukee Police Association, the police union, from 2005-2009,” On Milwaukee reported. He retired in 2017.

Konerak Sinthasomphone, John Balcerzak, and Joseph Gabrish come up in Netflix’s ‘DAHMER’ 

Sinthasomphone and Dahmer’s other victims, most of which were young Black men, are highlighted in Ryan Murphy’s limited series DAHMER — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. All 10 episodes came out on Sept. 21, 2022. 

Kieran Tamondong plays Sinthasomphone. Meanwhile, Scott Michael Morgan plays Officer Balcerzak and and Matthew Alan plays Officer Gabrish. Evan Peters is Dahmer.  

Stream DAHMER — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story exclusively on Netflix

RELATED: ‘Conversations With a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes’ Premieres in October – a Backstory of the Grisly Serial Killer