Sergeant Leo Jonas Waldinger

Sergeant Leo Jonas Waldinger

Erie Police Department, Pennsylvania

End of Watch Saturday, November 26, 1949

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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 had served with the Erie Police Department for seven years and had previously served with the United States Marine Corps. 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

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As we gather for Thanksgiving in this difficult year of 2020, I am also thinking of my great uncle, Sgt. Leon Waldinger, who succumbed to his injuries after being wounded in a gun battle with a barricaded male on Nov. 18, 1949. This year, I have kept him in my thoughts each day since Nov. 18 imagining what my father, his nephew, his sister, my grandmother, and his wife and children were going through. Thank you, Sgt. Leo for your service. EOW Nov. 26 1949. Gone But Not Forgotten.

Stacey Sanner
Great niece

November 26, 2020

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