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Beach Grit

BeachGrit writer shot dead by police!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

The former US marine, writer and cancer scammer Michael Kocher killed in shootout.

Yesterday, the sometime BeachGrit writer Michael Kocher, who was thirty two, was killed by police after taking two hostages and barricading himself inside a house.

(Read here)

Kocher. Remember him? Here’s the story.

A couple of years ago, a surfer turned US marine announces himself to me via email. His name was Michael Kocher and he wrote eloquently about being a solider in the American invasion of Iraq, quitting surfing to sell heroin and, later, said he was dying of spinal cancer and wrote about his terminal illness.

He also set up a GoFundMe account which raised $8600. As it transpired, the cancer story was a scam. 

All of which made great theatre. And even though I lost a few shekels on the cancer thing, I felt it a small price to pay for the laughs.

Two months ago, Michael told me he was living in Denver and whooping it up on the electronic dance music scene. I asked him to send me a story. He said he was surprised I didn’t hate him after the cancer scam. What can I say? I liked his writing.

Ultimately, it was bullets and not cancer that ended his life.

In a fitting self-penned eulogy, he concluded his last story with,

I was born at 11:56pm on April 27th, 1984. The same day as Ulysses Grant and more or less no one else. I was the result of too much to drink in a small rail town, and the herculean effort of seventeen hours of labor. My father never wanted children, my mother was supposedly barren, and yet there I was, being born. There I was, coming into the light. There I was, starting on a path that would eventually lead me halfway around the world to Iraq and then back to the States for a life of jail cells, parties, and the most devastating and wonderful year and a half of my life. That was still far down the road, though. For now it was enough to be born, dragged screaming and yelling into existence. I didn’t ask to be born, who the fuck was going to pay my bills?”