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Patrolman Louis Golonka | Cleveland Police Department, Ohio Cleveland Police Department, Ohio

Patrolman

Louis Golonka

Cleveland Police Department, Ohio

End of Watch: Tuesday, July 23, 1968

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 33

Tour: 9 years

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Rifle; Semi-automatic

Offender: Sentenced to death

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Patrolman Golonka, Lieutenant Leroy Jones, and Patrolman Willard Wolff were shot and killed during the Glenville Riots. Patrolman Golonka was a U.S. Navy veteran and had been with the agency for nine years. He was survived by his wife, daughter, and two sons.

The five days of riots began in the city's Glenville neighborhood when two civilian tow truck drivers, wearing uniforms similar to police uniforms, were shot in an ambush by heavily armed snipers while checking an abandoned car.

Over 50 officers responded to the initial shooting call and were ambushed by heavily armed militants. A total of seven people were killed and 15 wounded in the ensuing gunfire. Patrolman Wolff was one of the first officers on the scene and was shot in the face by a high-powered rifle. Lieutenant Jones was shot and killed while on foot at the corner of East 124th and Auburndale. Patrolman Golonka was shot and killed when he and other officers pursued several of the snipers into an alley and exchanged gunfire with them.

The leader of the militant group eventually turned himself in after 200 National Guard personnel were mobilized. The man was convicted and sentenced to death in the electric chair. Several of the other militants were arrested and convicted as well.

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Related Line of Duty Deaths

Lieutenant Leroy Jones
Cleveland Police Department, Ohio
End of Watch: Tuesday, July 23, 1968
Cause: Gunfire

Patrolman Willard J. Wolff
Cleveland Police Department, Ohio
End of Watch: Tuesday, July 23, 1968
Cause: Gunfire

Patrolman Thomas J. Smith
Cleveland Police Department, Ohio
End of Watch: Tuesday, March 9, 1993
Cause: Gunfire

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I grew up with Ptl. Golonka's niece and nephews and they were a special family. As a child, I learned of his heroic contribution to his fellow men and women and never forgot about it.

Lt. Tom Wetzel
suburban police lieutenant
January 15, 2016

 

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