Patrolman Joseph D. Benedict
On this day in Baltimore Police History 13 February, 1948 we lost our brother Patrolman Joseph D. Benedict to gun fire After a series of cab hold ups, Sgt. Mann of the Northern District was making a routine cab check, pulling alongside a cab he called out to a cabbie to see if everything was alright based on the following.
After a series of cab hold ups, Sgt. Mann of the Northern District was making a routine cab check, pulling alongside a cab he called out to a cabbie to see if everything was alright. It just so happened that cabbie Michael J Kozak had in his car as a passenger the suspect police were looking for; 24-year-old Roy Arnold Wood was sitting alongside Kozak with a gun to his ribs, he ordered Kozak to refuse cooperation with the Police Sergeant, and to “KEEP GOING… KEEP GOING” The cabbie bravely double clutched causing his cab to stall, Officer Benedict quickly exited his car and approached the cab on the side away from the driver, the suspect threw open the door and fired one shot which struck the policeman just below his badge. The gunman then jumped out of the cab and fled as Sgt. Fred Mann the Patrolman’s companion, fired three shots. Police believe that the gunman was the same man who had robbed Howard Profft, a cab driver, of the 1500 block of E. Baltimore St. of his cab and $16 at about 3:30 o’clock that same morning. He had freedom for a few days, but as you will read in the following sun paper articles, he was eventually captured.
First and article that says it all for all of of our fallen brothers and sisters:
A COMMUNITY TRAGEDY
February 14, 1948
The murder of Patrolman Joseph D Benedict is something far more than the personal tragedy of his bereaved family and his intimate friends. It is a tragedy in which the entire community shares. That is because Patrolman Benedict, as he performed his fatal duty in the early morning of Friday 13 Feb 1948), embodied the law. And the law is the set of rules by which a civilized community lives-without which, by definition; it cannot deserve the description "civilized." The murder of Patrolman Benedict was a direct attack on the embodiment of the law. Such an attack cannot go unpunished, because it is a direct challenge to society. The police, we may be sure, will do their utmost to capture the murderer(s). They have a right to expect aid from any member of the community who is in a position to give it. It is to encourage such aid by the community at large that the Sun paper has offered a reward of $1,000 for the person or persons who may be responsible for the apprehension of the murderer(s).
After this the following events took place, from local newspapers of the times
MAN QUIZZED IN KILLING OF POLICEMAN
16 February 1948
Caught in elaborate police trap as girl gives tip; found armed
Police last night overpower and arrest a 24-year-old armed man in connection with the slaying of patrolman Joseph D Benedict. The man was taken in the custody at Broadway and Pratt Street at 8:30 PM to head out on a date with his girlfriend. Although he had not been entered on the police docket early this morning, he was being questioned at the detective Bureau where he was taken immediately after his arrest.
Leading the squad of 30 men which participated in the capture were Hamilton R Atkinson police Commissioner; chief inspector M Joseph Wallace; Capt. Henry J Chris, commander of detectives and Capt. Julie and I Forrest, commander of the northern district.
THE ENTIRE DETAIL WAS DRESSED IN PLAINCLOTHES
Key figure in elaborately arranged trap, however, was the girlfriend, who gave a prearranged signal when the man approached and spoke to her.
Immediately the police converged and grappled with the struggling man. A crowd of several hundred gathered almost immediately to watch as the police disarmed the man and rusting away in a private automobile. Plans for the arrest began to unfold at 6 PM when the police detectives assembled and Capt. Chris’s office for instructions. Participating for the entire homicide squad, led by Lieut. George Brian, approximate 20 detectives and several plainclothes in the northern district.
WAITED IN DOORWAYS
After being briefed, they took their post shortly after 6 o’clock. 12 automobiles were stationed strategically around the intersection, eight of them being placed at and near the corners and the others at the far end of the block. In order to be inconspicuous, the automobiles were all privately owned by individual policeman, and each was occupied by two men. Other men in the detail waited inside doorways or paced up and down the street.
SHE WAITED ON THE CORNER
The man the police had been told was to meet the girl at 830 o’clock. At 815 the girl, whose identity police declined to reveal appeared at the corner. She took up the vigil with Her back to the Goodwill industries. Capt. Chris stood waiting in the doorway, three other detectives the ordering on each of the other corners. At precisely 8:30 a young man appeared, walking south on Broadway. He was dressed in a tan garbage in topcoat, dark felt that, Brown shoes, brown pants and Red Sox.
CAPT. CHRIS DIVED
He crossed and Pratt Street to the Southeast corner there he stopped in front of the young girl. They spoke a few words. The girl then gave the prearranged signal. Capt. Chris dived from the doorway while other police rushed from their positions of concealment and from the opposite corners.
POLICE ON TOP OF HIM
In a moment they were grappling and then the man was on the sidewalk with at least a police pilot on top of him. The girl fell to the sidewalk. A woman pedestrian on the other side of the street screamed. Commissioner Atkinson and himself rushed up to help collar the man and disarmed him of a 38 caliber pistol. The captive was rushed to the nearest sedan, pushed into the back seat with Capt. Chris and Commissioner Atkinson and driven away.
SUITCASE AT STATION
At police headquarters he was searched and police took from his pockets a number of 38 caliber cartridges and a baggage check from the Mt. Royal station. Detectives took the check to the station where they recovered a cheap cardboard suitcase which contained a number of freshly laundered shirts, and unprecedented. Six dice, a blank notebook a slip of paper, bearing three telephone numbers. Capt. Chris and inspector Wallace was still questioning the man in Capt. Chris’s office and an early hour this morning. Meanwhile, police revealed that they had been covering a house on 33rd St. since Saturday morning. The man taken in the custody was said to have occupied a room there. Commissioner Atkinson and said that a discharged 38 caliber shell was found in the room which had been occupied by the tenant. Northern district police early this morning were still holding a 25-year-old man who had been arrested Saturday morning at his Mosher Street address. His 17-year-old wife, arrested at the same time, had been released a few hours after the arrest.
THREW OPEN DOOR
Patrolman Benedict was shot about 4:30 AM Friday on 33rd St. near the Alameda by a passenger in a taxicab which was approaching to investigate, a short time after another cab had been held up in the same general vicinity. As the patrolman approach to the cab on the side away from the driver, the passenger – who was sitting in the front seat – threw open the door and fired one shot which struck the policeman just below his badge. The gunman jumped out of the cab and fled as Sgt. Fred man the patrolman’s companion, fired three shots. Police believe that the gunman was the same man who had robbed Howard proof, a cab driver, of the 1500 block of E. Baltimore St. of his cab and $16 at about 330 o’clock that same morning.
FORCED FROM CAB
Proved picked the bandit up at St. Paul and center streets and at St. Paul and Mt. Royal Avenue felt the gun pressed into the back of his neck. After driving the bandit around for some time in the Guilford area the cab driver was forced from the cab at Calvert and 13 streets. The abandoned cab with recovered at Guilford avenue and 20th St.
“KEEP GOING, KEEP GOING”
At about 4 o’clock that same morning, a man hailed a cab driven by Michael Kozak at North and Guilford avenues, and asked to be driven to Loch Raven Boulevard and 33rd St. As the cab reached 33rd and the Alameda the police car drew alongside it and the Sgt. Mann called: “is everything all right cavity?” At that point Kozak said the passenger forced a hard object in his ribs and told him to “keep going keep going” But all turned ugly engaging and disengaging the clutch, Kozak was able to stall his cab and Patrolman Benedict got out of the police car and approached the cab. As he approached the door the gunman removed his pistol from the cab his ribs and threw open the door and fired three shots at the Patrolman.
WIFE AND THREE CHILDREN
Patrolman Benedict was appointed to the Police Department in 1941 and has received four commendations from the Meritorious Service Board. In addition to his wife, he is survived by three children, Donald 14, Thomas 11 and Robert three his wife is expecting another child. Funeral services will be held at 8:15 AM tomorrow and a funeral home in a 900 block of N. Chester St. and the burial will be in holy Redeemer Cemetery, a requiem mass will be offered at 9 AM at St. Wenceslaus’s Catholic Church. Patrolman of the Northern district, to which Benedict was assigned, was service pallbearers.
As we take this time to remember him, and thank him for his service and sacrifice. We his brothers and sisters of the Baltimore Police Department will not let him be forgotten. God Bless you and Rest in Peace Officer Joseph Daniel Benedict.
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Again please contact Ret. Det. Kenny Driscoll if you have pictures of you, your family, or other members of the Baltimore Police Department and wish to see them remembered here on this tribute site. We are anxious to honor the fine men and women who have served this fine police department. Ret. Det. Kenny Driscoll can be reached at Kenny@BaltimoreCityPoliceHistory.com - Like us on Facebook, or contact us for a mailing address
Copyright © 2002 Baltimore City Police History - Ret Det Kenny Driscoll
|End of Watch||13 february, 1948|
|City, St.||33rd and the Alameda|
|Panel Number||11-W: 11|
|Cause of Death||Gunfire|