The Cleveland Police Museum is honored to tell the stories of our Fallen Officers on the anniversary of their End of Watch.
Appointed March 1st 1920, Patrolman Robert Wehagen served with the Cleveland Police Department for eighteen years, seven of which in the detective bureau. Before joining the police department, Wehagen served in the US Army during World War I.
On July 8, 1938, Matthew Bubich, a 48 year old psychopathic patient, escaped from the Elmwood Sanitarium. Bubich walked to the home he shared with his wife Ann and their daughter, which was attached to his butcher shop in the Flats. After threatening his family with a sixteen and one-half inch butcher’s knife, Bubich locked himself in the family home. Hearing the commotion, the upstairs neighbors called the police.
Bubich refused to open the door to the responding officers. Wehagen obtained a key from Mrs. Bubich, but as he opened the door, Bubich thrust the knife into the officer’s abdomen. As Wehagen fell, he sprayed tear gas in Bubich’s face, blinding him. Bubich dropped the knife and staggered through the door to where Patrolman Bonness was standing. Bonness fired twice at the madman, striking him in the arm and stomach. Bubich and Officer Wehagen were transported to the Lutheran Hospital. Bubich died moments after arrival. Unfortunately, Officer Wehagen also succumbed to his wounds.
Wehagen was survived by his wife Eleanor (nee Sheehan), his daughter Elaine O’Neill, his parents, three brothers and four sisters.