END OF WATCH: December 18, 1937
Cleveland Police Department
On Saturday, December 18, 1937, at 11:00 pm, Patrolmen Gerald Bode and Virgil Bayne were shot and killed in an exchange of gunfire at Mullen’s Service Gas Station, 8609 Buckeye Road.
Patrolmen observed five suspects acting suspicious and attempted to question them. Patrolman Bayne approached one of the men who was out of the car and identified himself as a police officer. At the same time, Patrolman Bode was approached the left rear of the auto to question the vehicle’s occupants.
As Patrolman Bayne began to search the suspect he had been talking to, the suspect backed away, pulled a revolver and fired several shots at Bayne fatally wounding him. Almost simultaneously, Patrolman Bode was met with a hail of gunfire from the suspects inside the vehicle and was also fatally wounded. Although mortally wounded, the officers were able to return fire before their attackers sped off in their vehicle.
Both officers were pronounced dead on arrival at St. Luke’s Hospital.
The five murderers were later arrested. One was found to be a juvenile and was turned over to the Juvenile Court. Of the others, one was electrocuted, one was sentenced to be electrocuted but had his sentence commuted to life in prison by Governor Davey and later reduced again and made eligible for parole by Governor Rhodes, and the others were eventually paroled.
Gerald Bode’s name is inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall, Washington, D.C., panel 63, west wall, line 10.
By P.O. Thomas Armelli, Cleveland Police Dept.