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

Age: 43
Served: 17 years
Badge #:
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 Disposition:
Paroled in 1960
Burial Place:
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. Shot in the throat, abdomen and right leg, Detective O'Dell lingered for a week before he died from his injuries.

   The 38-year-old suspect was shot three times by Detective O'Dell and charged with first-degree murder. He was later convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to two to 21 years in prison in a change of venue to Porter County. The offender was paroled in 1960 with a condition he return to his native Puerto Rico.

Historical Note

• Detective O'Dell is the first African-American law enforcement line of duty death in Lake County.



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Detective Elza 'Tip' O'Dell - Gary Police Department - INLEM.org