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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

34 years ago today, my good friend Sgt., John Hawley was killed in a Swat action at Jones Ct., in Elmira, NY.
Time has not fogged my memory of that day and the cover up of the shooting that resulted in the death of my good friend.
I went to the scene of the shooting and found that the account of the shooting as told by the Police Department was not true and that three shots had been fired in the direction of Sgt., Hawley and not just one as was the information released by the Police Department.
The information released was that the Officer responsible for shooting and killing of Sgt., Hawley had been trying to position himself to cover Sgt., Hawley and the shotgun went off by accident. This was not true and was evident by the impact of the 32 cal., pellets on the wall of Jones Ct.
The shotgun was a 12 Ga., loaded with double "O" Buckshot and there are 9 pellets in each 12 Ga., shell and I found 9 pellets had struck the wall where Sgt., Hawley had started running from , a few feet East of that area I found that 8 pellets had impacted the wall and then a few feet further East there was 9 pellet impacts. The missing pellet in the second shot was in Sgt., Hawley's head resulting in his death.
The Officer who shot and killed Sgt., Hawley was shooting a pump shot gun and I can not believe that the gun went off by accident twice more after the first shot, it requires a deliberate act to function the action on the weapon.
I went on and stayed with the Department until April 7th., 1997 and despised many of the people in the Department for having been part of that cover up and to this day I do not have contact with any of them.
Several of the retired officers meet at my home once or twice a year and often the conversation is about the killing of our good friend Sgt., Hawley.
Time has not lessened the bad feeling I have about this incident and the guys I still have contact with share my feelings about the handling of the death of our good friend Sgt., Hawley.

Capt., Al Wilson (Retired)
Elmira, New York City Police
January 8, 2017


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