Patrolman Otto W. Motz

Patrolman Otto W. Motz

New York City Police Department, New York

End of Watch Thursday, January 19, 1922

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Otto W. Motz

Patrolman Otto Motz was shot and killed by a prisoner inside the 37th Precinct station house (present-day 28th Precinct).

Patrolman Motz was in the station house with a suspect he had arrested. He removed his coat and handed his revolver to another officer and entered the cell area to attend to his prisoner, who was being seen by a doctor. While in the cell area, another officer brought in a prisoner who was crazed.

Patrolman Motz finished with his prisoner and was exiting the cell area. The officer that was holding his revolver began to hand it back to him, when the second prisoner jumped up, took hold of the gun, put it to the head of Patrolman Motz and fired.

After killing Patrolman Motz, the prisoner attempted to open fire, but the revolver failed to fire. Officers ran from all over the station house to the cell area, where it took seven officers to subdue the suspect.

The 31-year-old suspect was adjudged insane and committed at the Mattaewan Asylum for the criminally insane. On August 23, 1933, police in Jersey City arrested a man for creating a disturbance in the Holland Tunnel. In his pocket was a key to a safety deposit box at a bank in Orange, New Jersey. The box contained $12,000 in cash; a large amount at any given time but especially in the middle of a depression. The man would not identify himself or say how or where he got the money. His fingerprints revealed he was the man who killed Patrolman Motz. There was no record of his release or an escape from Mattaewan Asylum. Officials at Mattaewan were asked to explain but there is no more information that can be found.

Patrolman Motz was assigned to the 38th Precinct, the present day 32nd Precinct. His wife and daughter survived him.


  • Age Not available
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge 5110

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Committed

prisoner custody

Most Recent Reflection

View all 14 Reflections

It has been 100 years since you bravely sacrificed your life in the line of duty.
Though I never met you, your memory was always kept alive by Nana and your only daughter who always shared her love of you.
I have continued to instill that love and respect to my children and grandchildren. You will never be forgotten and will always be Honored by your family.
God Bless You

John Gattoline

April 22, 2022

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