Fallen Heroes

Honor Roll of Heroes

In front of the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office rests a memorial stone inscribed with the names of all the brave law officers whogave their lives in service to the people of Lorain County.

On four occasions, members of the Sheriff’s Office have made the ultimate sacrifice in carrying out their mission of keeping thepeople of this county safe from harm. This page offers remembrance to those who gave their life in service to this noble mission, you will never be forgotten.

Deputy Franklin Strohl was among the first group of deputies hired when Clarence E. Adams took office as Sheriff of Lorain County on January 9, 1929. He was described by the Sheriff as one of the most valuable men on the force.

On Wednesday afternoon, June 11, 1930, Deputy Strohl was responding to the scene of a serious traffic accident in North Ridgeville. The deputy was passing a street car near the intersection of Cleveland Street and Olive Street when a car made a left hand turn directly in front of him. Eyewitnesses said the impact hurled Deputy Strohl through the air, landing him on his back. Deputy Strohl was taken to the Elyria Clinic on West Avenue where he died two days later on Friday morning, June 13, 1930

Deputy Franklin J. Strohl’s name is inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall, Judiciary Square, Washington, D.C., panel #5, west wall, line 20.

By: Sheriff Phil R. Stammitti

On Tuesday, January 3, 1961, an accident occurred when deputies were pulling one cruiser attached with a tow chain with another. When the troubled car started, Deputy George got out to unhook the chain. Just then, an approaching car struck the rear cruiser, pushing it forward. Deputy George was caught in the middle and suffered critical internal injuries. He was taken to Memorial Hospital in Elyria where he died of his injuries on Monday, January 9, 1961, he was 41.

Deputy George was born in Elyria and had lived most of his life there. He was the owner of Flash Car Wash. He also was Vice-President of the Lorain Chapter of Aid to Leukemia Stricken American Children.

Survivors included his son Dennis, mother, three brothers and three sisters.

Michael J. George’s name is inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall, Judiciary Square, Washington DC, panel 53, west wall, line 3.

By: Norm Drew, Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial Society

Deputy Palermo and Auxiliary Deputy Kubuske were on a routine pick-up ordered by the Lorain County Probate Court, of a mental patient. The court warrant stated that Elbert Rush, age 35, was to be transferred to Tiffin State Hospital. Rush’s father, Eugene, had signed the warrant for his son to be committed.

Arriving at the home, the deputies were met at the door by the son, who immediately began screaming, “I’m not going back to Cuyahoga Falls.” This was a reference to Rush having been committed voluntarily to Summit County Receiving Hospital no less than five times. Deputy Palermo tried to convince Rush that he was not going to return to Cuyahoga Falls, but Rush kept shouting. Finally, Palermo asked Rush to get his coat and assured him that nobody was going to hurt him. Rush darted into a bedroom. Palermo kicked open the door and was met by Rush armed with a revolver. Trying to reason with him, Palermo said, “Now we don’t need that gun. We aren’t going to hurt you.” But Rush fired two shots into Deputy Palermo.

Deputy Kubuske, an unarmed auxiliary, dashed off the porch into a snow bank. He heard five more shots. One bullet had hit Palermo’s right shoulder and another passed through his heart, lodging in his left arm. Palermo staggered out of the house clutching his chest and fell near his cruiser. Palermo looked up at Kubuske and said, “I don’t want to die.” He then took a deep breath and died.

Elbert Rush fired wildly at other deputies and a gathering crowd as he darted several times onto his front porch, flourishing his revolver. Nobody was hit. Finally, Rush was routed from the house with tear gas. He then was wrestled to the ground by two deputies who tried to arrest him. He was finally subdued by seven policemen. Sheriff Smith said the crowd threatened to riot. Some, because they resented the seven-to-one odds against Rush, and others, because they considered the deputies “yellow-bellies” for not killing Rush. Shotgun-wielding deputies dispersed the crowd of about three hundred.

Elbert Rush was treated for his injuries and transported to Tiffin State Hospital.

Deputy Palermo was on lay-off from his regular job. His widow stated, “It was just yesterday he went to the Sheriff’s Office and notified them he was available for duty calls. I guess that’s why he was called today. They needed a man.” He was just 42 years old.

Palermo was in the Army Medics ten years at Walter Reed Hospital. He competed in cross-country track in high school and later enjoyed hunting, bowling, archery and guns. He was a member of Local 925 Allied Industrial Workers. His widow Elizabeth described her husband as “gentle and kind.” She believed his training as a medic helped him never to get excited. He was always saying, “Take it easy.” She thought John had taken the take-it-easy attitude in this case. If he had been tougher in his talk, he might have lived. Survivors include his wife Elizabeth, daughter Louise, and two sisters.

John Palermo’s name is inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall, Judiciary Square, Washington DC, panel 44, west wall, line 11.

By: Norm Drew, Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial Society

Deputy Tomaszewski had pulled over a fifteen-year-old youth on a traffic violation. The youth apparently told the officer he did not have his driver’s license with him but if the Deputy would follow him, he would get it. The officer followed the youth to a private home along a rural road southwest of Wellington. When they reached the house on Griggs Road, they both went inside. The youth then allegedly grabbed a .22 caliber rifle and shot Deputy Tomaszewski in the chest. The Deputy fired three rounds from his own gun, but the boy was not injured. Tomaszewski staggered out of the house, collapsed on the driveway, and was seen by a neighbor who called the police.

A number of officers from police departments in Lorain County responded to the scene shortly after 8:00 p.m. The youth’s parents were not home. Tomaszewski was taken to the emergency room at Wellington Community Hospital and then transferred to Elyria Memorial Hospital. The officer was dead on arrival at the hospital. Did a kind act lead to the slaying of the Deputy? Authorities theorized that the officer was apparently trying to give the young traffic violator a break. Normally motorists are arrested on the spot if they cannot produce a license.

After a search by police and deputies, the youth was found hiding in a field near his home. He first denied the shooting but after questioning, there were strong indications the boy was lying. A police revolver and a two-way radio lay outside the house near the downed officer. The youth was placed in the Lorain County Detention Home.

Officer Tomaszewski attended Lorain Community College for two years, then went on to graduate cum laude from Kent State University in 1978. He belonged to Alpha Phi Sigma, the National Criminal Justice Honor Society, and the Lorain County Fraternal Order of Police.

Officer Tomaszewski is survived by his Mother, Theresa; sister, Debbie and brother, Michael.

Kenneth Tomaszewski’s name is inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall, Judiciary Square, Washington DC, panel 54, west wall, line 5.

By: Timothy P. Drew, Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial Society