Officer Donald Ralph Kline

Officer Donald Ralph Kline

Hagerstown Police Department, Maryland

End of Watch Saturday, December 13, 1975

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Donald Ralph Kline

Officer Donald Kline was shot and killed when he interrupted an armed robbery in a grocery store at the corner of Baltimore Street and Frederick Street at about 9:30 pm.

He was off duty and inside shopping when a man entered and robbed the owner. When the suspect left Officer Kline pursued him on foot. In the ensuing shootout, Officer Kline was struck three times in the chest and killed. The suspect, who was an escapee from Pennsylvania, was also wounded in the chest and taken into custody. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Officer Kline had served with the Hagerstown Police Department for 14 years. He was survived by his wife and three children.


  • Age 40
  • Tour 14 years
  • Badge 19

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .25 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to life

escapee, foot pursuit, off duty, robbery

Most Recent Reflection

View all 21 Reflections

Merle is free today. Free to spend Christmas with the family he cultivated while in prison. I endured the two last hearings wherein a young college professor uses this case as a study for her students and Merle's defense attorney justified your death.
The judge called your death "ancient history."
Tales of you are everywhere. People who knew you surround me and recall you fondly. I want my children to regard me as I regard you.

Stuart Broussard

December 23, 2022

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