Patrolman Joseph Chmelynski

Patrolman Joseph Chmelynski

Bethel Park Police Department, Pennsylvania

End of Watch Tuesday, March 9, 1948

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Joseph Chmelynski

Patrolman Joseph Chmelynski succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained four days earlier when he was shot by a burglary suspect on Broughton Road. Patrolman Chmelynski and another officer caught two men in a house they had broken into while the owners were away on vacation. The officers handcuffed the suspects together and were escorting them to the patrol car when one of them produced a pistol and shot both officers. The other officer crawled to the car and called for help as the suspects fled on foot.

Hours later the suspects were spotted in South Park by three detectives. One of the suspects opened fire with a submachine gun when ordered to halt, wounding all three detectives and critically wounding a citizen who was standing nearby. Nine hours later the suspects were captured as they got out of a taxi in New Eagle. The cab driver had signaled police that something was wrong in his cab.

Both suspects were found to be responsible for numerous burglaries. The suspect who shot Patrolman Chmelynski was convicted of his murder and sentenced to death on September 29, 1948. He was executed in the electric chair on January 9, 1950. The other suspect received a lengthy prison term for several counts of burglary.

Patrolman Chmelynski was a U.S Army veteran of WWII and served with the Bethel Park Police Department for two years. He is survived by his mother, and siblings.


  • Age 25
  • Tour 2 years
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Friday, March 5, 1948
  • Weapon Handgun; Pistol
  • Offender Executed in 1950

burglary in progress

Most Recent Reflection

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As the 73rd anniversary of your untimely and heroic death just passed, I’d like to reiterate my previous reflection and say that your sacrifice is always remembered by your law enforcement family. Rest in peace always.

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

March 27, 2021

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