Officer Edward J. Costigan

Officer Edward J. Costigan

Akron Police Department, Ohio

End of Watch Thursday, January 10, 1918

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Edward J. Costigan

Officer Edward Costigan and Officer Joseph Hunt were the second and third of four Akron Policemen to be shot and killed by members of an Italian gang in retaliation for the Akron Police Department's crackdown on their gambling dens and brothels. They were both shot several times in the back as they walked their beat in front of the Union Fireproof Warehouse Company at 27 North High Street. Officer Costigan died at the scene and Officer Hunt succumbed to his wounds two days later. The gang was responsible for the deaths of Officer Guy Norris, shot and killed December 24, 1917, and Officer Gothin H. Richards, shot and killed March 12, 1918.

The Akron Police Department was baffled by the murders, not realizing the gang's involvement until an anonymous phone caller implicated one of the gang members who was arrested in New York. The suspect implicated five other gang members who were arrested and charged with murder.

Four of the suspects were executed in Ohio's electric chair, one on October 14, 1918, two on February 21, 1919, and one on July 24, 1919. The other two suspects were sentenced to life in prison. One was released in 1934 and deported to Italy. The other suspect was denied parole in 1964.

Officer Costigan had served with the Akron Police Department for just under 4 years. He was survived by his mother, two brothers, and five sisters.

Bio

  • Age Not available
  • Tour 4 years
  • Badge 17

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Four executed

ambush, foot patrol

Most Recent Reflection

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It's good to affirm that even in 1918, the Akron Police Department's anti-crime efforts were running afoul of organized crime. It's obvious that their pursuit of justice and attempts to rid their city of criminal elements incurred the wrath of well organized criminals. The murder of Officer Costigan and his fellow officers reflects the highest of ethical and righteous principles, of which all peace officers should aspire to accomplish. Despite the dangers, Akron and their officers vigorously pursued dangerous and well organized evil doers, despite the high costs. For that we should all honor Officer Costigan and all others felled in similar circumstances.

James Lopey, Assistant Sheriff (Ret)
Washoe County Sheriff's Office (Reno, Nevada)
Nevada DPS

January 10, 2022

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