Detective Elza "Tip" O'Dell

Detective Elza "Tip" O'Dell

Gary Police Department, Indiana

End of Watch Saturday, January 31, 1953

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Elza "Tip" O'Dell

Detective Elza O'Dell succumbed to gunshot wounds suffered one week earlier when he and his partner tried to arrest a subject at 1225 Washington Street.

The officers had responded after the man's ex-wife complained he had come to her house with a knife. They followed the subject into a building and confronted him, at which time he shot Detective O'Dell five times. The suspect was shot three times by Detective O'Dell and later charged with murder. Detective O'Dell, who was shot in the throat, abdomen, and right leg, lingered for a week before he died from his injuries.

The suspect was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to two to 21 years in prison. He was paroled in 1960 with the condition that he return to Puerto Rico.

Detective O'Dell had served with the Gary Police Department for 17 years. He was Lake County's first African American police officer killed in the line of duty. He was survived by his wife and child.


  • Age 43
  • Tour 17 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Saturday, January 24, 1953
  • Weapon Handgun; Revolver
  • Offender Paroled

arrest attempt

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Rest in peace always knowing that your service and sacrifice will never, ever be forgotten by your law enforcement brethren.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

January 31, 2021

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