Patrolman Joseph Phillip Tracz, Jr.

Patrolman Joseph Phillip Tracz, Jr.

Cleveland Division of Police, Ohio

End of Watch Monday, September 28, 1970

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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.

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 shootings until they were apprehended the two robbed several people and then 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 had served with the Cleveland Police Department for less than 1 year. He was a Vietnam Veteran and played football at Ohio State University. He is survived by his wife and unborn child.

Bio

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

Incident Details

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

Most Recent Reflection

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NEVER FORGET! On behalf of the Ohio Attorneys General Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation, we honor the dedicated service and ultimate sacrifice of Patrolman Joseph Phillip Tracz, Jr. of the Cleveland Division of Police, Ohio and the additional 55 American Peace Officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice on this date in history.

Superintendent Joe Morbitzer
Ohio Attorney General, Bureau of Criminal Investigation

September 28, 2021

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