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Detective Charles J. Westdhal, Jr. | Pennsylvania Railroad Police Department, Railroad Police Pennsylvania Railroad Police Department, Railroad Police


Charles J. Westdhal, Jr.

Pennsylvania Railroad Police Department, Railroad Police

End of Watch: Monday, December 11, 1939

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 31

Tour: Not available

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Location: Pennsylvania

Incident Date: 12/7/1939

Weapon: Officer's handgun

Offender: Executed in 1940

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Detective Charles Westdhal succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained four days earlier when he was shot inside the Fairmount Park Guard headquarters at the intersection of 44th Street and Parkside Avenue.

He had arrested a man whom he caught stealing coal from a railroad car on the tracks along that ran along through park at Black Road and West River Drive. While the man was in custody in the Park Guard headquarters he suddenly lunged at one of the park guards and grabbed his service revolver from its holster. He shot the guard in the abdomen as the two struggled over the gun.

Detective Westdhal and the subject then exchanged shot and both were wounded. The man was taken into custody by the park guard duty sergeant. Detective Westdhal was transported to Presbyterian Hospital where he died four days later.

The subject plead guilty to murder and was sentenced to death. He was executed in the electric chair on July 15th, 1940.

Detective Westdhal was survived by his wife and parents. His father was a police officer with the Philadelphia Police Department.

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A heroic act which so sadly took your life. You saw what you needed to do and you did it without hesitation. Only God knows how many of us will act in the manner in which you did. You truly are a hero, Brother.

God Bless and may your eternal rest be ever peaceful.

Ptl. Jim Leahy, Jr.
Harvard University Police Dept.
June 15, 2017


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