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Sergeant John Charles Hawley | Elmira Police Department, New York Elmira Police Department, New York


John Charles Hawley

Elmira Police Department, New York

End of Watch: Sunday, January 8, 1984

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 42

Tour: 17 years

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire (Accidental)

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Sergeant Hawley was accidentally shot and killed by a fellow officer while retreating from a shootout with two heavily armed suspects. The two men had just been released from prison and were planning on a crime spree to murder police officers and district attorney staff members. After abducting a cab driver the officers located the two in an apartment.

As the SWAT team attempted to enter the apartment they came under heavy fire and two officers were wounded. Sergeant Hawley took up a position in the living room to offer cover to the other members who were retreating. The then escaped through a living room window and began to run from the apartment complex when he was struck. Another officer who had been guarding the perimeter for 45 minutes in sub-zero temperatures attempted to reposition himself on the ground and his shotgun discharged, striking Sergeant Hawley. The suspects later committed a murder-suicide, ending the standoff.

Sergeant Hawley had been with the agency for 17 years and was survived by his wife, son, and daughter.

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Most Recent Reflection

John. They say time heals everything well 32 years later I still do not feel healed. Each day I look at 2 ofy 3 sons and I am reminded of you. 1 became a federal police officer and 1 a New York state correction officer they went into law enforcement because of you and of course your friend officer David Holmes. My 4 children knew your story from the time they could talk. I always told them of how your friendship had helped me become a much better person and I told them that because of your friendship I went to your funeral and stood and served your fellow officers at the heights Legion until each and every person had been served in spite of the fact I had been severely injured and should have had surgery that day. I had decided that it was the least I could do for someone who had given his life for me and others. And because of you I have 2 children in law enforcement none of us are perfect. But some like you came close to that in other people's eyes. Missing our talks and your top notch advice. Because of you I was able to leave an abusive relationship and move on without feeling guilty. Missing you always. Missing a great friend

Civilian Tina Peterson-Castle
March 12, 2016


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