Patrol Officer James Gatzounas

Patrol Officer James Gatzounas

Holyoke Police Department, Massachusetts

End of Watch Saturday, January 1, 1977

James Gatzounas

Officer James Gatzounas died after being assaulted as he and other officers responded to a fight at a New Year's Eve street party. As Officer Gatzounas attempted to place one of the suspects under arrest he was repeatedly kicked and punched, and he went into cardiac arrest.

Two suspects, ages 19 and 17, were charged with first degree murder. When Officer Gatzounas' autopsy revealed he died of cardiac arrest instead of injuries from the beating, the charges were reduced to manslaughter.

Officer Gatzounas had been with the agency for 18 months and had previously served with the United States Army during the Vietnam War. He was survived by his wife and child.


  • Age 29
  • Tour 1 year, 6 months
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Assault
  • Weapon Person
  • Offender Charged with manslaughter

Most Recent Reflection

View all 13 Reflections

Rest in peace Officer Gatzounas. No matter you died as a hero doing your job with honor, conviction and pride. Taking an officer's life is tragic enough. For your family's sake these two teenagers should spend the rest of their lives in jail. Justice one day will be served by Our Creator. The uniform you donned meant something to the citizens of Holyoke, Massachusetts that you faithfully watched over.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

December 31, 2016

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