Detective Sergeant William Kenneth Mortimer

Detective Sergeant William Kenneth Mortimer

Dayton Police Department, Ohio

End of Watch Monday, March 4, 1974

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William Kenneth Mortimer

Detective Sergeant Mortimer was shot and killed at 1175 Staley Avenue while attempting to arrest two suspects who had just robbed nearby Potaskys' Jewelry Store.

As the subjects ran from the store, a 52-year-old man who just happened to be walking by and saw what happened ordered the two to stop. But one suspect shot and killed him. He was a well-known civil rights activist.

Detective Mortimer was en route to the police academy when he responded to a call of assistance at an apartment complex where the two suspects barricaded themselves. While on the scene, he observed two young girls looking out of a door at all of the police activity. Sergeant Mortimer immediately ran to the girls and pushed them inside the door for their own safety. Just as he did this, the same suspect who killed the other man came out of his apartment, saw Sergeant Mortimer, and shot him in the face with a .357 caliber handgun.

Both suspects, 16 and 18, were apprehended and charged with capital murder. Ironically the 18-year-old gunman was convicted of one count of murder and sentenced to life. He was paroled in 1983. The 16-year-old was convicted of two counts of murder and sentenced to life. He was paroled on October 29, 1992. The 16-year-old was the 18-year-old's uncle. Because the two looked so much alike, there was a lot of confusion during their trials.

Sergeant Mortimer's brother, Sergeant Paul Mortimer, died in the line of duty four years earlier while also serving with the Dayton Police Department.

Sergeant Mortimer had served with the Dayton Police Department for 22 years and was a graduate of the 83rd Session of the FBI National Academy. He was survived by his wife and two sons.


  • Age 44
  • Tour 22 years
  • Badge 15

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .357 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to life

FBI National Academy, juvenile offender, robbery

Most Recent Reflection

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Det. Sgt. Mortimer,
On today, the 50th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Dayton. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

BPA Mike Casey
United States Border Patrol(Retired)

March 4, 2024

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