Guard Joseph Michalowski

Guard Joseph Michalowski

Middlesex County Sheriff's Department, New Jersey

End of Watch Saturday, May 8, 1943

Joseph Michalowski

Guard Michalowski was shot and killed after being taken hostage by a prisoner who was escaping from the Middlesex County Jail. The suspect, who was in jail awaiting trial on charges of atrocious assault with the intent to kill, attacked Guard Michalowski and forced him to open a secret gun locker. After taking a gun from the locker, the suspect forced Guard Michalowski into a guard station wagon, and ordered him to drive away.

When the wagon entered the town of Highland Park, Guard Michalowski spotted a Highland Park patrolman and attempted to signal him. The suspect, seeing what was happening, shot and killed Guard Michalowski. The patrolman, alerted by the sound of the gunshots, ran to the wagon. The suspect pushed Guard Michalowski's body from the wagon and fled.

The Patrolman gave chase on the running board of a commandeered civilian auto, and then on foot through several backyards. When the suspect attempted to pull a man from his car at gunpoint, that man refused and attempted to wrestle the gun from the suspects hand. The suspect was able to break free, and fired two shots at the approaching patrolman, both of which missed. The patrolman returned fire, striking the suspect in the head. The suspect died the next day from his wound.

Guard Michalowski was serving at a temporary guard in the Middlesex County Jail, and had served in such capacity for four months. He was survived by his wife, son and daughter.


  • Age 40
  • Tour 4 months
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Shot and killed

Most Recent Reflection

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On May 15th, 2007 on Peace Officer’s Memorial Day - the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office held a ceremony to honor Joseph G. Michalowski and the Law Enforcement Officers of the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Department. To read what my father wrote about that fateful spring day and spoke so eloquently at the ceremony please see:

It was a wonderful day of healing for many.

Trish (Micalowski) Conrad

May 8, 2013

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