Lieutenant Joseph Lawrence Szczerba

Lieutenant Joseph Lawrence Szczerba

New Castle County Police Department, Delaware

End of Watch Friday, September 16, 2011

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Joseph Lawrence Szczerba

Lieutenant Joe Szczerba was fatally stabbed while struggling with a suspect shortly after midnight.

Lieutenant Szczerba had responded to backup other officers who were searching for a disorderly man near Penn Acres Park. He located the man at East Roosevelt Avenue and Fithian Drive and, after a short foot chase, began to struggle with him. During the struggle the subject pulled out a knife and stabbed Lieutenant Szczerba in the neck.

Other officers were able to take the subject into custody. Lieutenant Szczerba was transported to Christiana Hospital where he succumbed to the wound.

On September 30th, 2013, the subject pleaded guilty to two counts of first degree murder and 13 additional counts. On January 17th, 2014, the subject was sentenced to life terms in prison without parole.

Lieutenant Szczerba had served with the New Castle County Police Department for 18 years. He is survived by his wife and family.

Lieutenant Szczerba was posthumously promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and awarded the department's Medal of Honor.


  • Age 44
  • Tour 18 years
  • Badge 28

Incident Details

  • Cause Stabbed
  • Weapon Edged weapon; Knife
  • Offender Sentenced to life

Most Recent Reflection

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Joe, I'm sitting here perusing the ODMP site as I try and do everyday and of course here you are. It's hard to believe it's been nine years today and as I have conveyed to others, I remember waking up that morning and watching this pop on the news. Sitting here reliving that morning and the funeral is as gut wrenching today as it was back then but I also know that NCCPD carries on in your memory with the many outstanding men and women who serve. Rest in peace and always know that your service and sacrifice will never, ever be forgotten by your law enforcement brethren.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

September 16, 2020

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