Sergeant Joseph L. O'Brien

Sergeant Joseph L. O'Brien

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Police Department, Railroad Police

End of Watch Sunday, October 30, 1932

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Joseph L. O'Brien

Sergeant Joseph O'Brien was shot and killed in East Chicago, Indiana, when he and another officer were ambushed by several subjects who were attempting to steal merchandise from trains as they slowed near the junction of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad junction with the New York Central Railroad, near Indiana Harbor.

The officers had watched two trains pass by and were walking back to their car, parked on Cline Avenue, when they were ambushed by a group of five men. One of the men opened fire on them with a shotgun, striking Sergeant O'Brien in the face and the second officer in the arm and body. The other officer was able to retreat to Cline Avenue, where he flagged down a passing motorist. Responding officers took Sergeant O'Brien to St. Catherine's Hospital, where he died shortly after midnight.

Five men were arrested several days later. The subject who shot Sergeant O'Brien was charged with murder after confessing to the crime. The other four were charged with being accessories to murder.

Sergeant O'Brien was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of WWI. He was survived by his wife.


  • Age 37
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Indiana
  • Incident Date Saturday, October 29, 1932
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Charged with murder

ambush, larceny, trespasser

Most Recent Reflection

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Sgt. O’Brien,
On today, the 90th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice-not just as a Law Enforcement Officer but for our Country as well when you served with the USMC during World War I.

Semper Fi Gunny!
A fellow LEO;former Marine

United States Border Patrol

October 30, 2022

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