Deputy Sheriff Joseph Daniel Coyle

Deputy Sheriff Joseph Daniel Coyle

Armstrong County Sheriff's Office, Pennsylvania

End of Watch Monday, November 24, 1919

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Joseph Daniel Coyle

Deputy Sheriff Joseph Coyle was shot and killed as he and his partner pursued two subjects on foot at 7:00 pm, on the railroad tracks at the rear of the American Sheet and Tin Plate Company Plant in Leechburg Borough.

Both Deputies and a civilian who was accompanying them were eating dinner inside a restaurant on Market Street when two men who were acting disorderly were removed from the restaurant by the owner after one of the men assaulted a waitress. The owner notified both deputies and they followed the men outside the restaurant to an alleyway where they notified both subjects that they had 20 minutes to leave town and if they failed to do so they would be arrested.

They returned to the restaurant to finish dinner when they spotted both subjects on an adjacent corner speaking to a local man approximately 20 minutes later. As both deputies approached, the men fled on foot. Deputy Coyle caught up to one of the subjects nearing a railroad bridge and as he grabbed the subject's left arm to place him under arrest the man swung around and shot Deputy Coyle in the chest. Deputy Coyle's partner pursued both subjects and exchanged 10 to 12 shots with them until both men escaped by hiding on a railroad car. Early the next morning both of the subjects were arrested without incident by members of the Pennsylvania State Police while sleeping in a boarding house in Cadogan.

Deputy Sheriff Coyle and his partner were deputized in September and were assigned to patrol duty in Leechburg Borough to preserve order at the American Sheet and Tin Plate Company Plant due to the national steel strike.

On December 19th, 1919, charges against one of the subjects was dismissed by the presiding judge during the trial due to insufficient evidence against him. The second subject was found guilty of homicide and was sentenced to seven to nine years in prison and ordered to pay a fine up to $1 for costs of prosecution.

Deputy Sheriff Coyle had served with the Armstrong County Sheriffs Office for two months. He was survived by his mother and several siblings.


  • Age 36
  • Tour 2 months
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .45 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced 7-9 years

assault, foot pursuit

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No passage of time can ever erase your service and sacrifice. Rest in peace always.

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

November 24, 2020

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