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:
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:
Incident Township:
Weapon Used:
.38-caliber handgun
Suspect Disposition:
Paroled in 1960
Burial Place:
Oak Hill Cemetery, Gary

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   Detective Elza O'Dell died from gunshot wounds he suffered one week earlier while he and his partner were attempting to arrest a subject.

   The officers responded after a female had called police and reported that her ex-husband came to her home and kidnapped their six-month-old daughter at gunpoint.

   Shortly thereafter, they found the baby and man four blocks away at an apartment and confronted him. Detective O'Dell was shot in the throat, right leg and three times in the abdomen, and died a week later at Methodist Hospital.

   The 38-year-old suspect, who had been shot twice by Detective O'Dell, was charged with first-degree murder. In a death penalty case, he was later convicted of manslaughter in a change of venue to Porter County and sentenced to two to 21 years in prison.

   The offender was paroled in 1960 with a condition he return to his native Puerto Rico.

   Detective O'Dell was survived by his wife, son, mother and sister.

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 -