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Heroes Roll Call: Patrolman Walter J. Pruehs, #709

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

Walter J. Pruehs was a patrolman for five years, attached to the flying squad unit, when he was shot and killed by three armed gunmen.

On October 18, 1920, Officer Pruehs noticed three men loitering and acting suspiciously on the corner of West 25th Street and Henritze Avenue.  Upon questioning, the young men became evasive and rude. Officer Pruehs ordered the men to march ahead of him to a police call box, where he could call for back-up.

Patrolman Walter J. Pruehs, #709, EOW 10/17/1920

The three men began walking and then suddenly turned with revolvers drawn and began shooting, striking Officer Pruehs in the upper abdomen. As Officer Pruehs fell to his knees, he fired four shots, but none of the bullets were believed to strike any of the suspects. Criticaly wounded, Pruehs made his way to the call box and summoned back-up. He was then taken to City Hospital where he fought for his life, but was pronounced dead.

It was found the three suspects were also wanted in connection with the burglary of Ott Cut-Rate Pharmacy at 3661 Fulton Road, where burglars carried away a three-hundred-pound safe containing six hundred dollars in cash and 100 postage stamps.


Officer Walter J. Pruehs was survived by his wife, Mary and his two children, Thalia and Walter. The killers were never found.

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