END OF WATCH: June 28, 1926
Parma Police Department
The year 1926 was a somber one for the Village of Parma, Ohio, as its second peace officer was killed in the line of duty that year while serving its citizens.
On June 28, 1926, at 6:30 pm, Mrs. Otto Kliment called the Parma Town Hall at Ridge and Ridgewood Drives stating her husband was drunk, breaking furniture, and abusing her at their home on Theota Avenue. Deputy Wolf was on duty at the time and responded to the call. Wolf was new, just appointed six weeks prior and working his day off for a fellow officer. Wolf parked his police car in front of Kliment’s home. The Deputy walked across the yard and was approaching the front door when Otto Kliment fired through the wall from inside, striking Deputy Wolf in the heart and mortally wounding him.
Kliment’s neighbor, Melvin Borhrer heard the gunshot and ran to help the downed officer. Kliment came out of his house, and he and Mr. Borhrer placed Wolf in an automobile. Borhrer rushed him to Deaconess Hospital, where the deputy was pronounced dead.
Mr. Borhrer called the police at which time Marshal Charles Tesar and Constable William Lightner hurried to the scene where they learned of Deputy Wolf’s fate. Officer’s learned Kliment armed himself with a .38 caliber Colt revolver and a belt of cartridges and fled a short distance to Holy Name Cemetery at West 54th and Theota Avenue.
Constable Lightner followed Kilment’s escape route while Marshal Tesar circled ahead to cut off Kliment. In searching, Tesar heard four shots ring out and luckily, the bullet struck a tree two inches from Tesar’s head. Tesar called for Kliment to surrender, Kliment recognized Tesar’s voice, responded, “All right, Charlie.” and came forward with his hands up and pistol raised in the air. Kliment told Tesar, “I’m sorry I shot at you, Charlie, for had I known it was you, I would not have shot.”
Kliment was taken to the Town Hall where he admitted the slaying, saying he was drunk and didn’t know what he was doing. He was indicted for first degree murder. Under questioning by Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Selmo Glenn, Kliment declared he did not remember the shooting. Kliment was acquitted of the murder of Deputy Marshal Wolf. He was additionally charged with shooting with intent to wound both Marshal Tesar and Constable Lightner. He was found not guilty on both charges.
Deputy Marshal Clinton Wolf was laid to rest in Brooklyn Cemetery. He left behind his beloved wife Ester.
Clinton Wolf’s name is inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. Panel 59, E -18
By Sgt. Kim Cornacchio & Capt. Daniel Hoffman, Parma Police Dept.