Police Officer John F. Gottfried

Police Officer John F. Gottfried

Newark Police Division, New Jersey

End of Watch Friday, November 28, 1980

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John F. Gottfried

Officer John Gottfried was shot and killed when he attempted to stop a bank robbery. Officer Gottfried, a member of the Emergency Bureau, had gone to a nearby bank on his lunch break to cash a check. While waiting in line two suspects, armed with revolvers, entered to rob the bank. The two suspects 16 and 27 ordered everyone to lay on the floor. Officer Gottfried had his personal coat on which hid his uniform and gun belt. As the robbers were leaving he took action and shot the older robber in the hip. The robber returned fire hitting Officer Gottfried five times. He then walked over to Officer Gottfried, who lay dying, shot him three more times, and laughed as he kicked him several times.

The two suspects were arrested two days later. Authorities would not release the name of the 16-year-old. It was soon discovered the two suspects were members of a new Muslim sect called the "New World of Islam". The next day the 42-year-old leader who planned the robbery was arrested and charged with Officer Gottfried's murder. All three along with more than 20 others had been robbing banks for several months so they could establish a community just for them and new recruits in South Carolina. Within several weeks FBI agents and law enforcement in New Jersey and other states arrested them all. Most are serving long sentences in state and federal prisons.

The suspect who killed Officer Gottfried was convicted of murder, several other crimes, and sentenced to life. He will be eligible for parole on February 18, 2030. If he gets out federal authorities will be waiting for him for the bank robberies. The leader who planned the robbery was also sentenced to life. It is not known what happened to the 16-year-old.

Members of the New World of Islam were also responsible for the murder of Sergeant Alfred L. Sellick of the Montclair Police Department on January 12, 1976.

Officer Gottfried had served with the agency for 22 years. He was survived by his wife.


  • Age 58
  • Tour 22 years
  • Badge 636

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .38 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to life

Most Recent Reflection

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Officer Gottfried,
On today, the 40th 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 USN during WW II as a crew member on the aircraft carrier USS Randolph(CV 15) fighting the Japanese in the Pacific. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Fair Winds And Following Seas

United States Border Patrol

November 28, 2020

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