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Patrolman John J. Gerka, Jr. | Hammond Police Department, Indiana Hammond Police Department, Indiana

Patrolman

John J. Gerka, Jr.

Hammond Police Department, Indiana

End of Watch: Saturday, January 11, 1947

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 36

Tour: 1 year, 2 months

Badge # Not available

Military veteran

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Handgun; .45 caliber

Offender: Executed in 1949

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Patrolman John Gerka was training two rookie officers when he went to investigate a suspicious car parked near Kenwood School.

As Patrolman Gerka walked to the side of the auto, a man leaned out and shot him at point-blank range, hitting him in the heart with a .45-caliber bullet. One of the rookies, Patrolman Donald Cook, was also shot and died two days later. The second rookie disarmed the shooter by wrestling his pistol from him, but was struck on the head by a second man and knocked to the ground.

A manhunt combed the area, then the state, looking for both suspects. Some time later, Hammond detectives arrested two suspects for the crimes. Both suspects were convicted of murder and sentenced to death. On February 23, 1949, both men were executed by electrocution.

Patrolman Gerka had served in the U.S. Army during World War II and served with the Hammond Police Department for over one year.

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Related Line of Duty Deaths

Patrolman Donald B. Cook
Hammond Police Department, Indiana
End of Watch: Monday, January 13, 1947
Cause: Gunfire

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Rest in Peace, Patrolman Gerka. Your sacrifice is not forgotten.

Officer 11169
February 17, 2013

 

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