Detective Sergeant John Paul Tsolis

Detective Sergeant John Paul Tsolis

Highland Park Police Department, Michigan

End of Watch Tuesday, April 16, 1974

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John Paul Tsolis

Detective Sergeant John Tsolis and Police Officer James Watts of the Detroit Police Department were shot as they executed a narcotics search warrant at the home of the suspect at 13145 Appoline Street, in Detroit.

The suspect was hiding in a closet on the second floor, and when Detective Tsolis opened the door, the man began firing with two guns. Detective Tsolis was killed instantly, and Officer Watts suffered wounds in his arm and chest. He was able to return fire and wound the suspect.

Detective Tsolis died of his wounds at the scene, and Officer Watts died on March 15th, 1975.

The suspect pleaded guilty to the murder of Detective Tsolis and was sentenced to 10-20 years. Another suspect was convicted of possession of narcotics and sentenced to five years.

Detective Tsolis had served with the Highland Park Police Department for 24 years and was the head of the Anti-Vice Bureau. He was survived by his wife and four children.


  • Age 49
  • Tour 24 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Plead guilty and sentenced 10-20 years

narcotics, plainclothes, search warrant

Most Recent Reflection

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To our Father…our Papa…all these years later. I cannot even imagine the strife you endured with the I influx of narcotics into the area I that 1974 era. So proud that you and Jimmy Watts continued the battle… for the future of the children. Very sorry that others forgot you had a family waiting for you at home (?). But we know that Jesus sees all things. So proud of you. Wished you could have stayed longer. Love always.

Susan Tsolis Rosen

October 13, 2022

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