Detective Robert Courtland Wash

Detective Robert Courtland Wash

Norfolk Police Department, Virginia

End of Watch Tuesday, May 16, 1961

Robert Courtland Wash

Detective Robert Wash was shot and killed by a man he suspected might be about to commit a burglary. Detective Wash and his partner stopped to check out the suspicious man standing by a number of phones at a drug store. The suspect started to run and Detective Wash's partner tried to apprehend him. The suspect pulled out a gun and shot the officer. Detective Wash grabbed the suspect and threw him toward the drug store wall and the man dropped to the ground and fired two shots at Detective Wash. Detective Wash was fatally wounded and died at the scene. His partner was wounded, but was able to hold the robber in a leg lock until other officers arrived.

The suspect was found to have burglary tools on him and was getting ready to break into the drug store. The officers were shot with a stolen Smith and Weston 5 shot 32-caliber handgun. The suspect was convicted of murder and executed in November of 1961.

Detective Wash had served with the agency for 16 years. He was survived by his wife, son and daughter.


  • Age 49
  • Tour 16 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .32 caliber
  • Offender Executed in 1961

Most Recent Reflection

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Time may have passed but you are not forgotten. I believe as long as someone remembers you or speaks your name, you are still with us.
Thank you for your heroism.
God Bless

Detention Officer A.Zambito

May 16, 2015

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