Patrol Officer David J. Tolsma

Patrol Officer David J. Tolsma

Cheektowaga Police Department, New York

End of Watch Thursday, October 20, 1977

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David J. Tolsma

Patrol Officer David Tolsma was shot and killed around 1 a.m. while responding to a robbery call at a Holiday Inn hotel on Genesee Street.

The suspect was an escapee who had been on the run for three days. He was captured 13 hours after murdering Officer Tolsma, and sentenced to 25 years to life. An accomplice was also sentenced to 25 years to life.

Officer Tolsma was a U.S. Navy veteran of four years and had served with the Cheektowaga Police Department for six years. He was survived by his wife, daughter, and son.


  • Age 32
  • Tour 6 years
  • Badge 112
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Sentenced to life


Most Recent Reflection

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I looked up David Tolsma today as I am going through some old photos and came across one without a name but that looks strikingly like David. He is perhaps 6 or 7 years old and has a young child, a year old, on his lap. He did have a younger sister, Donna. David was the great nephew to the "aunt" my sister and I lived with growing up in Elma. The day he was killed I was dropping my children off before I went to UB for classes. The radio announced that a Depew officer had been shot and killed. Before his name was given I had this awful feeling that it was a name i didn't want to hear - David Tolsma. I think most of us don't stop to realize that each time a police officer goes to work - whether male or female - there is always the possibility that he or she may not come home. I saw Jason's note that his Mom had done a good job raising him and his sister. May you and your family continue to be blessed with all that life has to offer. I am so sorry for your loss all those years ago; that you did not get to share those years with your Dad.

If indeed this is a picture of a young David, i would be more than happy to see that it gets to the family.

Sally Knox, not a member of police famil
David Tolsma was the nephew of the non-relative aunt I was raised by.

April 17, 2018

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