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 the police that something was wrong with the passengers 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


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Patrolman Chmelynski,
On today, the 75th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice-not just for your Community but for our Country as well when you served with the U.S. Army during World War II. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

March 9, 2023

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