Lorain County
Law Enforcement Officers
Past & Officers Down

Officers Down
Officer Down Memorial Page


Elyria Police Department, OH
     Patrolman James Kerstetter
......."Sponge" ......177
EOW: Monday March 15, 2010
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Weapon: Handgun
Suspect was shot and killed

 Patrolman James Kerstetter was shot and killed after responding to a call at a home on 18th Street. A mother in the home had called 911 to report that a neighbor had exposed himself to her child and kicked in a window in the home.

The suspect opened fire on officers after they located him at his home, wounding Patrolman Kerstetter. Other officers returned fire and killed the suspect. Officer Kerstetter was transported to EMH Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. Patrolman Kerstetter had served with the Elyria Police Department for 15 years and had previously served with the Lorain County Sheriff's Office, Grafton Police Department and the LaGrange Police Department.

Local News   The Chronicle   Journal
WJW TV 8 Cleveland News
WKYC Channel 3 Cleveland 
  The Chronicle 031610 
032010 Funeral Video & Pictures
   Morning Journal 031610 
032010 Funeral Video & Photos
WEWS Channel 5 News    Slain Officer Laid to Rest   Residents
Akron Beacon Journal 031610   

Officers from Near & Far Pay Respects
Cleveland Plain Dealer 031610    Residents Line Route 
Avon Show Support
   YouTube Funeral Procession Video

A special Thanks to the Chronicle-Telegram Staff & Photographers for their Respect and Professionalism in covering this story.














Christine Halvorsen /EPD Wife

   Patrolman Bradley T. Scott
End of Watch: Friday, August 27, 2004
Cause of Death: Traffic crash/Impaired Driver
Suspect sentenced to one year in prison.

Officer Brad Scott was killed in a motorcycle crash while detailed to support a police association function.

Officer Scott was enroute to pick up supplies for the event when another vehicle pulled out in front of him at the intersection of Sixteenth Street and Middle Avenue. Officer Scott was thrown from his motorcycle upon impact and suffered fatal injuries.

The driver of the vehicle was charged with driving under the influence of marijuana. He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to one year in jail.


  Patrolman Howard B. Taft

 Patrolman Howard B. Taft
EOW: Tuesday, August 18, 1942
Cause of Death: Gunfire 
Weapon: Handgun
Suspect was shot and killed


 Elyria Police Department    

Patrolman Taft was taking his fellow officer Andress home. Andress, on the force one month, was off-duty. A call came on the cruiser's radio to investigate a minor accident. Thus began a bizarre account of three violent deaths.

Taft's investigation completed, he determined that Nathaniel Spuriel, whose expensive coupe had collided with another car, was intoxicated. Taft took the wheel of the coupe to bring the Clevelander to Police Headquarters asking Andress to follow in the cruiser. About one hundred feet from the accident scene, Taft stopped and left the car to free a front fender that was scraping a tire. An eyewitness to the events that followed was standing on the sidewalk.

Spuriel removed the keys from his car. Taft ordered him to surrender the keys and an argument broke out. Taft retrieved the keys and ordered Spuriel back to the car. Both Officer Andress and the eyewitness, Arthur DuReitz, said that Spuriel fired a shot from the car and then jumped out and grappled with Taft. Taft pulled his pistol and fended off the resisting man. Andress, unarmed, attempted to go around Spuriel's car, grabbed a rock to circle around from behind, but was driven back when Spuriel shot at him. Spuriel followed Taft to the street, both men's guns blazing. Taft sustained gunshot wounds in his abdomen and hip but managed to put three bullets into the heart of his assailant, killing him instantly.

Andress rushed Taft to the hospital where he died an hour and one half later. Spuriel's car revealed something interesting when it was searched at headquarters. A woman's nude body was discovered in the trunk. She had been beaten to death. She was identified as being involved with Spuriel, and they were to appear for trial that week in connection with operating a house of prostitution.

Officer Taft's chief interest in private life was his wife and his eight months old baby son. He had become one of the best liked on the force, with a high devotion to his duties and a strict sense of propriety in his work. Taft was twenty-nine at the time of his death.

New York Central Railroad Police
Assigned to Elyria, Ohio Rail Yards
Detective Sgt. David H. Barnes
EOW: Wednesday, July 27, 1920
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Weapon: Handgun
Suspect: Sentenced to life in the murder of another officer

In the early 1900's Elyria Police Department maintained a "Bum Cell". As many as sixty transients a day would be rounded up, from the area of the railroad yards, and incarcerated for the night. In the morning they would be sent on their way, with orders to leave town. Police found this process to be very effective in keeping the burglaries, robberies, assaults and thefts in check.

NYC RR Detective Sergeant David H. Barnes, at 48 years old & 6'4", worked fearlessly and was single handily responsible for as many as half that number on any given day.

On the evening of July 27, 1920, Sgt. Barnes made the arrest of three transients and delivered them to the police station. Sgt. Barnes returned to the area of the East Bridge Street railroad undercut to locate two more suspects.

As Sgt. Barnes walked the tracks, a suspect lay in wait, concealed behind boxcars. Three shots rang out. The first striking Sgt. Barnes in the groin and knocking him to the ground. The second missed it's mark. The third shot was fired point blank, striking Sgt. Barnes in the head and killing him.

The suspect, a notorious bank robber, who had been in numerous shootouts with police, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the slaying of East Cleveland Detective Patrick Gaffney (EOW 12-19-1918) and died in prison. He was never prosecuted for the murder of Sgt. Barnes.

Sgt. Barnes was survived by his wife & four children. He had previously worked as a Deputy Game Warden in Huron County, Ohio

Amherst Police Department, OH

 Constable Rupert Becker
EOW: Monday, April 10, 1916
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Weapon was a handgun
Suspect was sentenced to life.
  Amherst Police Department

 On April 10, 1916, at approximately 9 p.m., Rupert Becker was summoned by Marshall Miller to Church St. to discuss a problem with a quarry worker, Martin Bischoff. Bischoff had an argument earlier in the evening with another bar patron. Marshall Miller learned Bischoff bought a .32-caliber revolver and ammunition from the local hardware store after the incident.

While advising Becker and Constable Fields, Bischoff exited a bar from across the street with the gun in his hand. Marshall Miller yelled out for him to put the gun away. Bischoff then raised the pistol and began shooting at the officers. Watchman Becker was shot four times, sustaining wounds to his back, hips, and arms. Marshal Miller and Constable Fields were also wounded during the attack, but survived. Bischoff was apprehended several minutes later after running from the scene.
Lorain County Sheriff's Department

Deputy Sheriff Franklin J. Strohl
 Deputy Sheriff Franklin J. Strohl
EOW: Friday, June 13, 1930
Cause of Death: Motorcycle Accident
  Lorain County Sheriff

On Wednesday afternoon, June 11, 1930, Deputy Strohl was responding to the scene of a serious traffic accident in North Ridgeville. The deputy was passing a street car near the intersection of Cleveland Street and Olive Street when a car made a left hand turn directly in front of him. Eyewitnesses said the impact hurled Deputy Strohl through the air, landing him on his back. Deputy Strohl was taken to the Elyria Clinic on West Avenue where he died two days later on Friday morning, June 13, 1930

Deputy Strohl's name is inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall, Judiciary Square, Washington, D.C., panel #5, west wall, line 20.

Deputy Sheriff Michael J. George 
 Deputy Sheriff Michael J. George
EOW: Monday, January 9, 1961
Cause of Death: Struck by vehicle
  Lorain County Sheriff

Deputy George succumbed to injuries received when he was crushed between two vehicles. He was assisting a disabled motorist when another vehicle struck one of the cars from behind. Deputy George had been with the agency for six months.

Deputy Sheriff John P. Palermo
 Deputy Sheriff John P. Palermo
EOW: Tuesday, January 21, 1964
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Weapon: UnknownGun
Suspect was Committed
  Lorain County Sheriff

Deputy Palermo was shot and killed by a mental patient he was attempting to apprehend. He had been with the agency for three years. Following the shooting the suspect was committed at the Lima State Hospital. In August of 1972, he was released to Lorain County authorities to stand trial for Deputy Palermo's murder. On January 2, 1973, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity and ordered confined at the Lima State Hospital indefinately.

Deputy Palermo's name is inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall, Judiciary Square, Washington DC, panel 44, west wall, line 11.

 Deputy Sheriff Kenneth M. Tomaszewski
 Deputy Sheriff
Kenneth M. Tomaszewski

EOW: Tuesday, July 3, 1979
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Weapon: .22 Rifle
Suspect was convicted as a Juvenile &
released when he turned 21
1. C.T. July 4, 1979
2. CT July 5, 1979
3.Code 44, Officer Down
4. Journal July 4, 1979
5.Crime Scene
6. Crime Scene...
7.Funeral .
8. Funeral
9. Sentence

Lorain County Sheriff

  Deputy Tomaszewski was shot and killed by Curtis Wacker, a juvenile suspect, following a traffic stop. During the stop, the juvenile was unable to provide proof of registration for the vehicle. Deputy Tomaszewski followed the suspect home so he could provide the registration. As Deputy Tomaszewski used the phone in the home to report his location, the suspect came from another room with a .22 caliber rifle and shot him in the chest. The suspect was convicted and sent to a juvenile detention center until his 21st birthday, when he was released. Deputy Tomaszewski had been with the Lorain County Sheriff's Department for one year.

Deputy Tomaszewski's name is inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall, Judiciary Square, Washington DC, panel 54, west wall, line 5.

Lorain Police Department, OH

Patrolman Fred J. Webber 
 Patrolman Fred J. Webber
EOW: Saturday, December 22, 1923
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Weapon: Unknown Gun
Suspect served one year
Lorain Police Dept

 Patrolman Fred Webber was shot and killed while attempting to apprehend a drunk male. He had responded to a restaurant on Broadway and attempted to arrest the man. The suspect fled and Patrolman Webber gave chase. A struggle ensued and both Patrolman Webber and the suspect were shot as fellow officers arrived on the scene. Investigations found that the fatal round may have been fired by another officer, but it could not be proven. The suspect was charged with shooting with intent to kill and served one year in prison.

Patrolman Charles C. Deal
 Patrolman Charles C. Deal
EOW: Friday, November 6, 1925
Cause of Death: Vehicle pursuit
Weapon Automobile
Suspect: Not Indicted
Lorain Police Dept

 Patrolman Deal was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver while directing traffic at the scene of an accident on the Lorain-Elyria Highway. He succumbed to his injuries while en route to a local hospital. Three days after the accident a man turned himself in to face manslaughter charges but a grand jury failed to indict him.

 Patrolman George Kirk
 Patrolman George Kirk
EOW: Thursday, March 30, 1944
Cause of Death: Fall
Lorain Police Dept

Patrolman Kirk died when he fell down an elevator shaft. It is unknown why the elevator doors were open or how he fell.

Nickle Plate Railroad Police
Assigned to Lorain , Ohio Rail Yards
Detective Jack W. Laicy
Nickle Plate Railroad Police
End of Watch: November 26, 1923
Cause of Death: Gunshot
Suspect: Sentenced to Life in Prison

 On the evening of November 20, 1923 Nickle Plate railroad Detective Jack. W. Laicy encountered a group of men in a gondola car, on the railroad tracks between Oberlin & Leavitt Roads in Lorain, Ohio. As Detective Laicy attempted to roust the men the situation escalates. Detective Laicy and Charles Wright simultaneously draw their pistols and fire. Detective Laicy is hit in the stomach. Charles Wright is hit in the jaw, neck, and hand. Laicy fled and traveled about one half mile before finding help. He was transported the hospital. Wright is found wounded, in the railroad yard, weak from the loss of blood. Detective Laicy died of his wounds November 26, 1923. On March 11, 1923 Charles Wright was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in Ohio Penitentiary.

Oberlin Police Department, OH

Constable Frank Stone
End of Watch: June 4, 1881
Cause of Death: Gunshot

Record of Pardon

On May 12, 1881 Oberlin, Ohio Constable Franklin Stone attempted to affect the arrest of a suspect that had assisted in the escape of Constable Stone's prisoner. As the young man fled, Stone drew his firearm and fired, wounding the young man. Constable Stone then chased the young man to his residence, where he encountered the young man's father, Samuel Durham. Durham took aim with a rifle and Constable Stone was shot as he reloaded his weapon. Constable Stone died of his injuries June 4, 1881.
Durham was arrested and in October of 1881 he was convicted of second degree murder. Sentenced to life in prison, and a new trial was denied on appeal. In October, 1891, frail and infirm, Durham received a pardon, for good behavior, from Governor James Campbell and was released in December of 1891. Durham dies six years later, in October of 1897.


 Officer Robert B. Woodall ,Oberlin Police Department
Patrolman Robert B. Woodall
EOW: Wednesday, March 10, 1971
Cause of Death: Automobile accident


Officer Woodall was on patrol in area of the Oberlin Reservoir when his marked unit ran off an ice covered road and slid broadside into a tree. Dispatch lost contact with Woodall and after a five minute wait, three cruisers were dispatched to search for him. Approximately 80 minutes later the officers located Woodall and his vehicle. Woodall was pronounced dead on arrival at Allen Memorial Hospital.
Vermilion Police Department, OH


 Patrolman Francis Smolka
EOW: Sunday, October 29, 1978
Cause of Death: Heart attack

Patrolman Smolka suffered a fatal heart attack shortly after arresting a suspect who had resisted arrest.


Wellington Police Department, OH

Wellington Safety Forces Memorial



City Marshal George Brenner
EOW: Tuesday, July 17, 1883
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Weapon: Revolver
Suspect died in prison

Headstone at
Greenwood Cemetery,
Wellington, Oh. reads:
BORN JUNE 20,1839
DIED JULY 18, 1883


The Enterprise July 18, 1883

The Enterprise July 25, 1883

The Enterprise July 25, 1883

Wellington Police Department

Record of Death

City Marshal George Brenner was shot and killed by August B. Tiery, 19, whom he attempted to stop and question on a local street shortly after midnight. Unbeknownst to Marshal Brenner, the suspect along with his companion, John Young, 29 had just burglarized the near-by office of the W. & L.E. Railroad Depot.

As Brenner approached a shot pierced his neck. Mortally wounded, Brenner was able to walk to the stairway of his apartment over the Otterbacher Harness Shop and died in the arms of his wife.

Young was dragged out of a livery stable. A revolver was found near him in a haymound. Tiery, 19, was captured in a boxcar at Kipton, Ohio. Convicted of second degree murder Tiery was sentenced to life in prison December 20, 1883. Tiery set fire to his bed and died in prison, of burns, March 23, 1895. Young received a five-year sentence

Officer Edmund Smith 
Patrolman Edmund Smith
EOW: Saturday, May 4, 1957
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Weapon: Revolver
Suspect executed in 1959
Policeman Beaten, Shot 1
Policeman Beaten, Shot 2
Policeman Beaten, Shot 3
Policeman Beaten, Shot 4
Everybody Liked Ed Smith
Vernon Smith /Walter Byomin
 Play by Play
Gifts Pour In

Honors Smith
Smith Fund

 On Saturday, May 4th, 1957, Patrolman Smith was shot and killed while responding to a domestic disturbance at 300 Courtland Street between Walter J. Byomin, 40, of Cleveland and a a former girl friend, Mrs. Helen Bristow.

As Officer Smith arrived, Byomin fled the scene. Patrolman Smith gave pursuit. An armed Byomin stopped and exited his car at Barker Street and Maple Street. Patrolman Smith and the suspect exchanged shots but Patrolman Smith's gun jammed. The suspect fatally shot the wounded officer as he tried to crawl back into his patrol car. The suspect was sentenced to death and executed in 1959.


Rochester, Ohio - Marshal

Marshal Spooner Crapo, Rochester, Ohio
Marshal Spooner Crapo
EOW: Friday, November 11, 1905
Cause of Death: Struck by Train
Weapon :None
Suspect: : None

Wellington Enterprise Article

 Marshal Spooner Clark Crapo, served with General Custer in the Civil War. Born: Oct 12, 1837,
Died: November 11, 1905. Buried in Rochester Station Cemetery, Rochester, Ohio.
Marshal Crapo was chasing some kids who were trying to jump a boxcar. During the chase the Marshal
stepped from behind a boxcar into the path of a train running in the opposite direction. He was struck & died.


Prior Lorain County Service:

 Corporal Dyke A.J. Coursen  Corporal Dyke (A. J.) Coursen
Beaufort County Sheriff's Department, South Carolina
End of Watch: Tuesday, January 8, 2002 ....
Cause of Death: Gunfire ...
Weapon was an SKS Rifle
Suspect was sentenced to death


Beaufort County Sheriff's Office

 Corporal "A.J." Coursen and Lance Corporal Dana Tate were shot and killed after responding to a domestic disturbance call on Riley Road, in Burton, at approximately 4:00 pm.

A female had called the sheriff's office and complained about her and her young child being held against their will by her boyfriend. While the deputies were investigating, they were shot by the boyfriend, who was armed with a semi-automatic rifle and was hiding inside a bedroom closet. Deputy Coursen was killed, but Deputy Tate was able to shoot and wound the suspect before he died. The suspect was later taken into custody after a search. The suspect was sentenced to death in 2003.

A.J. started his police career in Grafton, working as a LaGrange Firefighter as well. Prior to moving to Beaufort, A.J. worked as the Fire Chief and Police Captain in Lagrange. A.J. was also assigned to represent Lagrange on the Lorain County Drug Task Force. He is remembered by his friends in Lorain County for his dedication and accomplishments.

 Officer Leonard B. Wilcox   Police Officer Leonard B. Wilcox
United States Department of Veterans Affairs Police U.S. Government
End of Watch: Friday, January 31, 1986
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Weapon .45 caliber Handgun
Suspect was sentenced to two life terms

 News Clippings
1. Funeral

2. Funeral

3. Funeral

 Officer Wilcox and Officer Mark Decker were shot and killed while attempting to question a suspicious man at the Brecksville VA Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. Both officers were armed only with mace due to administrative guidelines. While the officers were talking with the man he pulled out a .45 caliber handgun and shot Officer Decker, killing him instantly. Officer Wilcox attempted to run for cover, but the suspect chased him before shooting him as well.

Officer Wilcox was a member of the Elyria Police Department, prior to joining the V.A. Police. His wife, Cindy, was employed by the Elyria Police Department in the Records Division at the time of his death.

   Trooper Robert Perez Jr.
Ohio State Highway Patrol
End of Watch: Monday, May 15, 2000
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
Weapon Used: Automobile
Suspect Info: Struck and killed by automobile

 I-80 Memorial

 Trooper Robert Perez died three days after his cruiser was struck from behind while he was writing a traffic citation on the Ohio Turnpike in Milan, Ohio. Trooper Perez and the vehicle he had stopped, were in an emergency pull-off when a minivan struck his cruiser, pushing it into the original stopped vehicle. Trooper Perez was transported to a hospital in Cleveland where he died. The suspect who struck his cruiser attempted to flag down passing motorists, before he sat down in the highway and was struck and killed by another vehicle. Trooper Perez had been in law enforcement for three years and had been with the Ohio State Highway Patrol for one year.

While Trooper Perez was assigned to the Milan Post at the time of his death, he was raised in Lorain County.

 Officer Jason West
Cleveland Heights Police Department Ohio
End of Watch: Saturday, May 26, 2007
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: Friday, May 25, 2007
Weapon Used: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect Info: Sentenced to life

Officer West responded to a disturbance that involved a fight over a woman at a large party. Three units responded, Officer West was the first to arrive. The suspect had backed his car into the driveway and Officer West parked blocking the suspect vehicle. As Officer West stepped out of his cruiser, the suspect opened fire at him from inside the parked car. The suspect then exited the car and continued to shoot Officer West at close range, striking him in the leg and face.The suspect fled and threw his gun in a neighboring driveway before breaking into a house. The lone occupant was able to flee unharmed. The suspect was found hiding on the second floor and was taken into custody.The suspect plead guilty to Aggravated Murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder of Officer West.

Four years prior to this incident the suspect had told his family that he wanted to kill a police officer. He then went out and threw a brick at a police cruiser and assaulted an officer. He was later convicted of that crime and sentenced to probation.

Officer West was born and raised in Avon, Ohio. He attended Avon High School where he played football and baseball. Officer West served with the Cleveland Heights Police Department for seven years. He is survived by his parents and sister.

Trooper Kenneth Velez
Ohio State Highway Patrol,
EOW: September 15, 2016
Cause of Death: Struck by vehicle
Suspect info: High on drugs
 Chronicle Telegram

Morning Journal

 Trooper Kenneth Velez was struck and killed by a vehicle while conducting a traffic stop on I-90, near the Warren Road exit, in Cuyahoga County.

Trooper Velez had served with the Ohio State Highway Patrol for 27 years. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Updated 122114