Law Enforcement Officers Feloniously Killed on Duty

Determining whether or not the death of an on-duty law enforcement officer is the result of a criminal act is not as straightforward as it might seem. Such a determination might be made on the basis of the conduct alleged to have caused the death, whether or not charges were filed or a conviction was obtained; the type of charges filed; or the type of conviction obtained. Complicating matters further are those cases in which the alleged killer is also killed, and therefore never charged or tried.

Herein, a law enforcement officer is deemed to have been killed by a criminal act if a felony conviction was obtained against a defendant after that death or likely would have been were the defendant apprehended or still alive.

Determining whether or not an officer is on duty at the time of his (all of the officers killed on duty in Allegheny County have been men) killing is also not so straightforward. In the present research, an officer is deemed to be on duty if he is killed while discharging his duties or acting in an official capacity, whether or not he was formally on the job at that time.

On that basis, and in chronological order, these law enforcement officers have been feloniously killed in the line of duty in Allegheny County.[i] Allegheny County officers killed outside the county are not included. Officers from outside the county killed within the county are included.

Italicized and bolded names indicate that the officer’s killing resulted in a death sentence.

 

Name of Officer                                Law Enforcement Agency               Date of Crime*

  1. Daniel McMullen                     Pittsburgh Police Department              July 27, 1867
  2. John Stacks                                Pittsburgh Police Department             April 23, 1872
  3. John A. Weimar                        Pittsburgh Police Department             August 24, 1874
  4. Samuel Norman                       Tarentum Police Department              July 26, 1877
  5. Thomas Lyons                          Pittsburgh Police Department             July 3, 1878
  6. John Wiggins                            Allegheny City Police Department     November 9, 1880
  7. Edward O’Dwyer                     Pittsburgh Police Department             June 30, 1881
  8. John F. “Benjamin” Evans    Pittsburgh Police Department            August 4, 1885
  9. Charles Metzgar                       Pittsburgh Police Department           May 1, 1898
  10. James McKeag                           Turtle Creek Police Department       April 9, 1901
  11. Patrick Edward Fitzgerald  Pittsburgh Police Department           April 12, 1901
  12. James H. Sheehy                       Pittsburgh Police Department           May 18, 1901
  13. William Shields                        Pennsylvania State Constable            October 16, 1903
  14. Bruce A. Patton                        Coraopolis Police Department            December 10, 1905
  15. Thomas J. Sullivan                   Pennsylvania State Constable            July 12, 1907
  16. Harry H. Exley                          Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office     August 22, 1909
  17. John L. Williams                       Pennsylvania State Police                  August 22, 1909
  18. John Curtis “Jack” Smith        Pennsylvania State Police                    August 22, 1909
  19. Martin F. Windt                       Pennsylvania State Constable             December 29, 1913
  20. George H. Shearer                  Pittsburgh Police Department              May 12, 1914
  21. John E. Clifford                        McKeesport Police Department          December 15, 1915
  22. Thomas Pugh                           Pennsylvania State Constable             June 15, 1916
  23. Charles LeRoy Edinger       Pittsburgh Police Department             June 6, 1917
  24. Michael J. Lebedda               Munhall Police Department                November 17, 1917
  25. Harry Meyers                        Harrison Township Police Dept.          December 21, 1917
  26. William C. Lucas, Sr.          Harrison Township Police Dept.          December 21, 1917
  27. Thomas Patrick Farrell          Pittsburgh Police Department            March 2, 1918
  28. John L. Wilson                         Homestead Police Department           September 6, 1918
  29. Robert McLean Hamilton      Turtle Creek Police Department        April 4, 1919
  30. Louis Henry Hufnagel            Crafton Police Department                 September 8, 1919
  31. George Hoffman                      Pittsburgh Police Department            October 22, 1919
  32. William Frank Smith              Homestead Police Department          October 6, 1920
  33. Peter K. Tsorvas                       Pittsburgh Police Department           October 30, 1920
  34. Joseph Allen Coghill             Dormont Police Department             December 25, 1921
  35. Edward George Couch         Pittsburgh Police Department            October 30, 1922
  36. Daniel J. Conley                     Pittsburgh Police Department            December 30, 1922
  37. Casper Thomas Schmotzer     Pittsburgh Police Department           January 23, 1923
  38. Albert Schnittker                    Pittsburgh and Lake Erie RR Police     March 28, 1923
  39. Frank X. Mooney                      Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office     May 2, 1923
  40. John August Pieper                Pennsylvania Dept. of Corrections     February 11, 1924
  41. John Taylor Coax                    Pennsylvania Dept. of Corrections     February 11, 1924
  42. Max Lefkowitz                          McKeesport Police Department         May 14, 1924
  43. Joseph Jovanovic                    Pittsburgh Police Department           July 7, 1924
  44. John Mancos                              Pennsylvania State Constable            July 22, 1925
  45. George L. MacPhee                  Rankin Police Department                  April 9, 1926
  46. James F. Farrell                        Pittsburgh Police Department             July 6, 1927
  47. John J. Downey                         Pennsylvania State Police                    August 22, 1927
  48. James E. Hughes                       Pittsburgh Police Department            December 27, 1929
  49. Grover Wolf                             McKees Rocks Police Department      November 14, 1930
  50. Vernon Porter Moses              Ross Township Police Department     May 3, 1932
  51. Herbert P. Brantlinger           Pennsylvania State Highway Patrol    September 3, 1933
  52. Martin Pluter                            Pennsylvania State Constable              April 16, 1934
  53. Roy William Freiss                   Pittsburgh Police Department             February 3, 1935
  54. Robert Leo Kosmal                   Pittsburgh Police Department             August 16, 1935
  55. Andrew Joseph Conroy           Pennsylvania State Constable              January 21, 1938
  56. Edward M. Conway               Pittsburgh Police Department              June 27, 1939
  57. Tobias J. Brown                        Pittsburgh Police Department             August 23, 1941
  58. Albert Theodore Lorch           Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office      October 1, 1943
  59. Louis G. Spencer                      Pittsburgh Police Department            December 24, 1946
  60. Joseph Chmelynski                Bethel Park Police Department           March 5, 1948
  61. Charles McKinley                     Verona Police Department                  February 4, 1954
  62. William H. Heagy                     Pittsburgh Police Department            March 25, 1954
  63. Edward Mackiw                        Pennsylvania State Police                   May 31, 1958
  64. James R. Lauer                        Northumberland County Sheriff       May 27, 1959
  65. Coleman Regis McDonough   Pittsburgh Police Department            July 6, 1965
  66. Clifford Joseph Grogan, Sr.    Pennsylvania Dept. of Corrections   November 12, 1965
  67. Joseph Francis Gaetano          Pittsburgh Police Department            June 10, 1966
  68. Joseph Paul Zanella              Verona Police Department                September 19, 1969
  69. William J. Otis                            Pittsburgh Police Department           March 3, 1971
  70. Albert William Devlin             McCandless Police Department         January 8, 1973
  71. Walter Lee Peterson               Pennsylvania Dept. of Corrections     December 10, 1973
  72. Patrick J. Wallace, Jr.            Pittsburgh Police Department            July 3, 1974
  73. Norman Alexander Stewart   Pittsburgh Police Department          September 16, 1983
  74. Joseph John Grill                       Pittsburgh Police Department           March 6, 1991
  75. Thomas Lawrence Herron      Pittsburgh Police Department           March 6, 1991
  76. Frank Albert Miller, Jr.            McKeesport Police Department        November 10, 1993
  77. James Henry “Rip” Taylor, Jr. Pittsburgh Police Department          September 22, 1995
  78. Joseph Raymond Pokorny, Jr.  Pennsylvania State Police                 December 12, 2005
  79. Eric Guy Kelly                           Pittsburgh Police Department          April 4, 2009
  80. Stephen James Mayhle           Pittsburgh Police Department           April 4, 2009
  81. Paul John Sciullo, II                Pittsburgh Police Department           April 4, 2009
  82. Michael James Crawshaw        Penn Hills Police Department          December 6, 2009

[i] The Pittsburgh Police Department and the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Department do not maintain publicly available lists of officers killed on duty. A searchable database of police officers killed in the line of duty is available at the Officer Down Memorial Page, https://www.odmp.org/. At least with respect to Allegheny County officers, this listing omits some of the cases listed above and contains numerous factual inaccuracies regarding other cases.

* In many cases, date of death differs from the date of the underlying assault.