END OF WATCH: October 18, 1920
Cleveland Police Department
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.
On October 18, 1920, Officer Pruehs noticed three men loitering and acting suspiciously on the corner of West 25th Street and Henritze Avenue on his way to report for duty. Officer Pruehs decided to approach the three young men and question them. The three young men became evasive and rude. Officer Pruehs decided to take some action and ordered the men to march ahead of him to a police call box where he could call for back-up.
The three men began walking and then suddenly stopped. They turned with revolvers drawn and one of them began shooting, striking Officer Pruehs in the upper abdomen. As Officer Pruehs fell to his knees, he was able to draw his own revolver and fire four shots, but none of the bullets were believed to strike any of the suspects. Officer Pruehs, critically wounded, made his way to the call box and summoned back-up. He was then taken to City Hospital where he fought for his life. Officer Pruehs was pronounced dead at 8:20 p.m., October 18, 1920.
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.
Walter J. Prueh’s name is inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall, Washington, D.C. panel 47, west wall, line 12.
By Recruit Michael V. Rinkus, Cleveland Police Academy