A Lino Lakes police officer found dead in a Hugo bar the early morning of May 19 has strong ties to the Anoka County community.
Sgt. Chris Bragelman, 37, was the son of longtime Anoka resident Lawrence Bragelman and his wife Margaret. His grandmother, Clara Bragelman lives at Anoka’s Walker Plaza. A cousin lives in Anoka, an aunt lives in Coon Rapids and his brother Paul Bragelman lives in Oak Grove.
“He has many deep ties to this area. His dad was born and raised here, graduated from Anoka High School, worked for Main Motors,” said Kathie Hagenah, Bragelman’s aunt. “He has many family members living right here in Anoka County.”
Bragelman had been at the Blue Heron Bar and Grill in Hugo while off-duty the evening of May 18. He mentioned to the party he was with that “he wasn’t feeling good” and went out to the patio, Hagenah said.
“He went out to the patio and never came back. When they went to see what was going on, it was too late. He was already gone,” she said.
Washington County Sheriff’s deputies responded, CPR was performed, but Bragelman was pronounced dead at the scene.
The cause of death has yet to be determined, but, according to Hagenah, an autopsy has been ordered.
Lino Lakes Police Chief John Swenson called Bragelman “a crucial part of Lino Lakes Police Department” and “a valuable person in the community, a firearms instructor and trainer for the department.”
Hagenah said Bragelman was passionate about helping people and volunteering at work and in the communities he served.
His early police training was done at the Anoka County Sheriff’s Department after he had completed the law enforcement program at Alexandria Technical College. From there, he served with the Detroit Lakes and Centennial police departments before arriving in Lino Lakes eight and a half years ago.
Law enforcement was Bragelman’s life’s dream, Hagenah said.
“From the time he was eight years old he wanted to be a policeman,” she said. “Well, he did it. He was doing what he loved.”
Hagenah and Bragelman’s grandmother Clara talked about what a devoted family man he was and how he was always so much fun to be around.
“When he wasn’t there – at a family event or anything – you always missed him,” Hagenah said, calling her nephew, “The happiest guy you’d ever know. He was always smiling. You never saw him without a smile on his face.”
Bragelman enjoyed classic cars, martial arts, firearms, riding his Harley and spending time at the family lake home.
He is survived by his wife, Emily (nee Dick); daughter, Isabella (3); sons, Landon (1) and Gavin (9); mother, Margaret Bragelman; brother, Paul Bragelman; sister-in-law, Kristen; nephew, Grayson; grandmother, Clara Bragelman; aunt Kathie Hagenah; and many more family and friends.
He was preceded in death by his father, Lawrence Bragelman; paternal grandfather, Wilfred Bragelman; and maternal grandparents, John and Helen Bauer.
Funeral services have been held.
Sue Austreng is at [email protected]