Patrolman Joseph Phillip Tracz, Jr.

Patrolman Joseph Phillip Tracz, Jr.

Cleveland Division of Police, Ohio

End of Watch Monday, September 28, 1970

Add to My Heroes

Joseph Phillip Tracz, Jr.

Patrolman Joseph Tracz was shot and killed, and his partner was seriously injured after they stopped a vehicle occupied by two men for running a stoplight at East 106th Street and St. Clair Avenue at 2 am.

As Patrolman Tracz's partner was speaking with the driver, the driver suddenly opened fire with a pistol hitting him in the groin, chest, and mouth. He then shot Patrolman Tracz. Patrolman Tracz's partner managed to crawl back to his cruiser and radio for help. As he crawled back, he saw the gunman shoot Patrolman Tracz a second time in the back, as he lay on the ground.

In May of 1972, the suspects, 22 and 23, who had been at large, were arrested after they robbed a bank near the scene of the shooting. A year later, both suspects were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Patrolman Tracz's killer was denied parole on November 9, 2009, and in 2019. His next parole hearing is on August 1, 2029. The other suspect died in prison in 2013.

From the time of the shootings until they were apprehended, the two robbed several people and locked them in the trunk of their cars. In 1971 one of their victims died in the trunk of his car. They were never brought to trial for his murder.

Patrolman Tracz was a United States Vietnam veteran and had served with the Cleveland Police Department for less than one year. He is survived by his wife and unborn child.

Patrolman Tracz had played football at Ohio State University.


  • Age 27
  • Tour 1 year
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; Pistol
  • Offender Sentenced to life

traffic stop

Most Recent Reflection

View all 42 Reflections

Thinking of you today on the 53rd anniversary of your death. I will never forget you and the impact your sacrifice had on my life.

Timothy Yaeger
Aux. Police Officer
City of Berea Ohio

September 28, 2023

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.