Heroes Roll Call: Patrol Officer Stephen M. Kovach, #763

The Cleveland Police Museum is honored to tell the stories of our Fallen Officers on the anniversary of their End of Watch.

Patrol Officer Stephen M. Kovach, #763, EOW 3/11/1984

On September 3, 1977, Stephen M. Kovach was appointed to the Cleveland Police Department and was assigned to the Third District.

On March 11, 1984, while working zone car 332, Officer Kovach and his partner of five years David Rutt were dispatched to 3722 Longwood Avenue in connection with a hit skip accident.

Officers were unaware the hit-skip driver just committed two violent robberies and was armed and dangerous. At the time Kovach and Rutt were dispatched, the robbery victims were still in the process of filing their reports. The officers pursued the suspect, who sped away, eventually hitting another car. 

As Patrolman Rutt walked towards the stolen car, the driver jumped out and fired, striking Rutt in the chest. Rutt returned fire, wounding the suspect. As Patrolman Kovach exited to back up Rutt, the suspect shot Kovach in the neck. Rutt fired four more shots, killing the driver.

Plain Dealer, 3/12/1984
Plain Dealer, 3/13/1984

Patrolman Kovach died on scene. Patrolman Rutt was taken to St. Vincent Charity Hospital in critical condition but recovered. The suspect was pronounced dead.

Services for Patrolman Kovach were held at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and he was laid to rest at the Holy Cross Cemetery.  He was survived by his sister, Diane Chilletz.

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