Chief of Police Walter Eugene Markel

Chief of Police Walter Eugene Markel

Ironton Police Department, Ohio

End of Watch Friday, December 2, 1966

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Walter Eugene Markel

Chief of Police Walter Markel was shot and killed while attempting to stop a jailbreak at the Lawrence County Jail at the courthouse square.

A prisoner had obtained control of a deputy's gun and took three deputies hostage. The man forced the deputies to free three other prisoners and hand over several other weapons.

The sheriff's wife was alerted to the incident as it was occurring and called Chief Markel, who rushed to the jail with Police Officer Charles Giles. Chief Markel went into the jail, immediately grabbed one of the suspects, and exchanged shots with the others. Chief Markel was struck in the chest and killed instantly. One of the suspects, who was wounded in the shootout, then shot Officer Giles as the officer put his hands up to surrender, paralyzing him from the waist down.

Two Ohio Highway Patrol officers had also been alerted to the jailbreak. When they arrived at the scene, they took up defensive positions in the front of the jail. As the prisoners led the four deputies out of the front, the highway patrol officers told them to surrender. Two of the suspects immediately surrendered, but the fourth opened fire. The suspect was killed in the return gunfire from the patrol officers.

Patrolman Giles remained paralyzed from the chest down and died as a result of complications of the wound on November 26th, 1988.

Chief Markel was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of WWII and had served as Chief of the Ironton Police Department for three years. He was survived by his wife, son, and daughter.


  • Age 41
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Shot and killed

escape attempt

Most Recent Reflection

View all 22 Reflections

I grew up friends with the Markel family..They lived just a couple doors down from my Grandmother on 5th st..What a very sad day for the whole town of Ironton..Chief Markel was without a doubt and still continues to be a hero too me,,It was a very sad and hard Christmas and New Years that year without a doubt..RIP Chief..You will never be forgotten by me..May God continue to bless and bring comfort and peace to the chiefs family as well as too the family of Officer Charlie Giles...Again RIP Chief and Charlie...Both of you are American Hero's...

Chaplain Jerry T. Brownstead
Personal Family Friend.

January 30, 2024

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