Patrolman Donald B. Cook

Patrolman Donald B. Cook

Hammond Police Department, Indiana

End of Watch Monday, January 13, 1947

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Donald B. Cook

Patrolman Donald Cook was being trained with another unarmed rookie officer by Patrolman John Gerka when they went to investigate a suspicious car parked on Cleveland Street near Kenwood School.

As Patrolman Gerka walked to the side of the auto, a man leaned out and shot him at point-blank range, hitting him in the heart with a .45-caliber bullet. Patrolman Cook, a rookie, was also shot and died two days later. The second rookie disarmed the shooter by wrestling the pistol from him, but was struck on the head by a second man and knocked to the ground.

A manhunt combed the area, then the state, looking for both suspects. Sometime later, Hammond detectives arrested two suspects for the crimes. Both suspects were convicted of murder and sentenced to death. On February 23rd, 1949, both men were executed by electrocution.

Patrolman Cook was a U.S. Amy veteran of WWII and had served with the Hammond Police Department for only four days. He was survived by his wife, parents, and brother.


  • Age 22
  • Tour 4 days
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Saturday, January 11, 1947
  • Weapon Handgun; .45 caliber
  • Offender Executed in 1949

field training, stolen vehicle, suspicious vehicle

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Patrolman Cook,
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 WW II. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

January 13, 2022

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