Detective
Elza 'Tip' O'Dell
Gary Police Department
Saturday, January 31, 1953

Age: 43
Served: 17 years
Badge #:
Military Service:
Panel 37W, Line 9
Panel L14, Line 4

Incident Details

Cause of Death:
Gunfire
Date/Time of Incident:
Saturday, January 24, 1953
09:00 pm
Incident to Death Duration:
7 days
Incident Location:
1225 Washington Street, Gary
Incident County:
Lake
Incident Township:
Calumet
Weapon Used:
.38-caliber handgun
Suspect Info:
Shot and wounded
Burial Location:
Oak Hill Cemetery, Gary

   Detective Elza O'Dell died from gunshot wounds he suffered one week earlier after being shot when he and his partner tried to arrest a subject.

   The officers had responded after the man's ex-wife complained he had come to her house with a knife. They followed the subject into a building and confronted him, at which time he shot Detective O'Dell five times. The suspect was shot three times by Detective O'Dell and later charged with murder. Detective O'Dell, who was shot in the throat, abdomen and right leg, lingered for a week before he died from his injuries.

   Detective O'Dell was Lake County's first African-American police officer killed in the line of duty.