Sergeant John Charles Hawley

Sergeant John Charles Hawley

Elmira Police Department, New York

End of Watch Sunday, January 8, 1984

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John Charles Hawley

Sergeant John Hawley was accidentally shot and killed by a fellow officer while retreating from a shootout with two heavily armed subjects at the Jones Court Apartments on Baldwin Street.

The two men had just been released from prison and were planning a crime spree to murder police officers and district attorney staff members. Officers located the men in an apartment after they abducted a cab driver.

As the SWAT team attempted to enter the apartment they came under heavy fire and two officers were wounded. Sergeant Hawley took up a position in the living room to offer cover to the other members who were retreating. He then escaped through a living room window and began to run from the apartment complex when he was shot as the result of an accidental discharge by another officer.

The other officer, who had been guarding the perimeter for 45 minutes in sub-zero temperatures, attempted to reposition himself on the ground and his shotgun discharged, striking Sergeant Hawley. The barricaded subjects later committed murder-suicide, ending the standoff.

Sergeant Hawley had served with the Elmira Police Department for 17 years. He was survived by his wife, son, and daughter.


  • Age 42
  • Tour 17 years
  • Badge 47

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire (Inadvertent)

accidental discharge, barricade, swat

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Officer Hawley saw me crying in a park one day. I am still here today because of his talk with me.

Someone he saved

October 4, 2021

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