Sergeant Leo Jonas Waldinger

Sergeant Leo Jonas Waldinger

Erie Police Department, Pennsylvania

End of Watch Saturday, November 26, 1949

Add to My Heroes

Leo Jonas Waldinger

Sergeant Leo Waldinger and Patrolman Walter May were shot and killed while attempting to apprehend a hostage taker at the G. Daniel Baldwin Building at 10th and State Streets.

An irate WWII veteran had taken a US Veterans Administration director hostage at the location. Sergeant Waldinger, who was off duty but responded to the call anyway, and Patrolman May arrived at the scene at the same time and attempted to persuade the suspect to release the hostage. When the officers saw an opening, they attempted to rush the suspect but were both shot and fatally wounded. Both officers were transported to a local hospital where they succumbed to their injuries several days later.

The suspect was apprehended and committed to a mental hospital. He died at age 65 on December 16, 1986, at Warren State Hospital.

Sergeant Waldinger was a United States Marine Corps veteran and had served with the Erie Police Department for seven years. He was survived by his wife and children.


  • Age 37
  • Tour 7 years
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Friday, November 18, 1949
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Committed

Hostage, off duty

Most Recent Reflection

View all 12 Reflections

I lived at the bus stop where Sgt Waldinger got off coming home from duty everyday, west 29th and Plum st.. Many kids and myself included would walk with Leo part way home going north on Plum to w 28 because Leo lived on 28th near Cascade St. He was truly loved by all who knew him. Leo's son Leo was my age and a friend of Mine.

Since that sad day I have often thought that the Grade School Beginners Reading book showed the neighborhood Policeman walking with the children and holding hands crossing the street was modeled after "Leo The Great"
I was 11 years old at the time of this tragedy and it really is one of the saddest days of memory.

Douglas T Doolittle

September 30, 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.