Patrolman John J. Cleary

Patrolman John J. Cleary

Cleveland Division of Police, Ohio

End of Watch Tuesday, January 4, 1938

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John J. Cleary

Patrolman Cleary succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained 7 years earlier when he and his partner, Patrolman James Ryan, attempted to apprehend several robbery suspects on West 25th Street in Cleveland.

They had located one of the suspects in a rooming house and the man agreed to show them what room the others were in. When the officers went to the room they were met by an undressed woman who refused to let them in. The officers forced entry and Officer Ryan began searching the room.

When he opened a closet door he was confronted by the suspect at gunpoint. Patrolman Ryan attempted to draw his weapon and was shot several times. The suspect then ran into the hallway and shot Patrolman Cleary, severing his spine. Although wounded, Patrolman Ryan was able to chase the suspect a short distance and shot him. The suspect ran to a nearby house where he collapsed due to a loss of blood. Other officers had followed the blood trail to the house and arrested the man.

Patrolman Ryan was transported to Fairview Hospital where he was able to identify the suspect before succumbing to his wounds. Patrolman Cleary was hospitalized and remained in a wheelchair until succumbing to his wounds 7 years later.

The suspect was executed on April 22, 1932.

Patrolman Cleary had served with the Cleveland Division of Police for 12 years. He was survived by his wife, son, and two daughters.


  • Age 38
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge 967

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Wednesday, January 7, 1931
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Executed in 1932

arrest attempt, robbery

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NEVER FORGET! On behalf of the Ohio Attorneys General Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation, we honor the dedicated service and ultimate sacrifice of Patrolman John J. Cleary of the Cleveland Division of Police, Ohio and the additional 58 American Peace Officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice on this date in history.

Superintendent Joe Morbitzer
Ohio Attorney General, Bureau of Criminal Investigation

January 4, 2023

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