Patrolman Joseph C. Hagel

Patrolman Joseph C. Hagel

Newark Police Division, New Jersey

End of Watch Wednesday, March 15, 1961

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Joseph C. Hagel

Patrolman Hagel was shot and killed during a robbery attempt at a tavern on Summer Avenue. He had gotten off duty and was heading home when he stopped at the tavern to return a borrowed car to a friend. While he was sitting inside three men entered and announced a holdup. Patrolman Hagel drew his weapon and one of the suspects opened fire, striking Officer Hagel in the head and twice in the body. Although mortally wounded, Patrolman Hagel returned fire and wounded the 21-year-old suspect in the arm. He and the other two, 21 and 17, were arrested a short time later.

All three were convicted of first degree murder. The 17-year-old was sentenced to life. The other two were sentenced to death but their sentences were later commuted to life. One was paroled in 1980. The gunman was paroled in 1975 but returned to prison three times, once for a parole violation, another time for receiving stolen property, and the third time for a drug conviction. In 1986 he was sent to prison a fourth time for 50 years for drug trafficking. On March 23, 2003, he escaped from a minimum security prison. He would have been released in 2007.

Patrolman Hagel had served with the agency for 37 years. He was survived by his wife, three sons, and four daughters. One of his sons is a Newark police officer. Patrolman Hagel was set to retire in less than a year.


  • Age 63
  • Tour 37 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .32 caliber
  • Offender Paroled in 1975

Most Recent Reflection

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Patrolman Hagel,
On today, the 60th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Newark. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

March 15, 2021

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