Patrolman Willard J. Wolff

Patrolman Willard J. Wolff

Cleveland Division of Police, Ohio

End of Watch Tuesday, July 23, 1968

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Willard J. Wolff

Patrolman Wolff, Lieutenant Leroy Jones, and Patrolman Louis Golonka were shot and killed during the Glenville Riots.

Patrolman Wolff had served with the Cleveland Police Department for five years. He was survived by his wife, son, and two daughters.

The five days of riots began in the city's Glenville neighborhood when two civilian tow truck drivers, wearing uniforms similar to police uniforms, were shot in an ambush by heavily armed snipers while checking an abandoned car.

Over 50 officers responded to the initial shooting call and were ambushed by heavily armed militants. A total of seven people were killed and 15 wounded in the ensuing gunfire. Patrolman Wolff was one of the first officers on the scene and was shot in the face by a high-powered rifle. Lieutenant Jones was shot and killed while on foot at the corner of East 124th and Auburndale. Patrolman Golonka was shot and killed when he and other officers pursued several of the snipers into an alley and exchanged gunfire with them.

The leader of the militant group eventually turned himself in after 200 National Guard personnel were mobilized. The man was convicted and sentenced to death in the electric chair. Several of the other militants were arrested and convicted as well.

Bio

  • Age 30
  • Tour 5 years
  • Badge 1740

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Rifle; Semi-automatic
  • Offender Sentenced to death

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NEVER FORGET! On behalf of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation, we honor the dedicated service and ultimate sacrifice of Patrolman Willard J. Wolff of the Cleveland Division of Police, Ohio and the additional 74 American Peace Officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice on this date in history.

Superintendent Joe Morbitzer
Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation

July 23, 2019

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