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Detective Elza  Gary Police Department, Indiana


Elza "Tip" O'Dell

Gary Police Department, Indiana

End of Watch: Saturday, January 31, 1953

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 42

Tour: 17 years

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Incident Date: 1/24/1953

Weapon: Handgun; Revolver

Offender: Shot and wounded

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Detective Elza O'Dell succumbed to gunshot wounds suffered one week earlier after being shot when he and his partner tried to arrest a subject at 1225 Washington Street.

The officers had responded after the man's ex-wife complained he had come to her house with a knife. They followed the subject into a building and confronted him, at which time he shot Detective O'Dell five times. The suspect was shot three times by Detective O'Dell and later charged with murder. Detective O'Dell, who was shot in the throat, abdomen and right leg, lingered for a week before he died from his injuries.

Detective O'Dell had served with the Gary Police Department for 17 years. He was Lake County's first African-American police officer killed in the line of duty.

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Monica Zahasky
January 31, 2017


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