Our Fallen Heroes
Noah A. Leotta (1991 - 2015)
Police Officer II Noah A. Leotta succumbed to injuries sustained on December 3rd, 2015, when he was struck by a drunk driver near the intersection of Rockville Pike and Edmonston Drive. He was conducting a traffic stop on Rockville Pike at approximately 9:45 pm while working a special assignment on the agency's Holiday Alcohol Task Force. He had contacted the driver and was getting back into his patrol car when a second vehicle struck his patrol car and then struck him. Officer Leotta was transported to Suburban Hospital where he remained on life support until passing away on December 10th, 2015. The driver of the vehicle that struck him was held on suspicious of drunk driving with additional charges pending.
Officer Leotta had served with the Montgomery County Police Department for almost three years. He is survived by his parents and sister.
William D. "Bill" Talbert (1948 - 2012)
Police Officer Bill Talbert died as the result of contracting Hepatitis C. Officer Talbert contracted the disease following a blood transfusion after being injured by a drunk driver on June 30, 1983. He was standing between his patrol car and another vehicle when a drunk driver struck one of the vehicles, causing Officer Talbert to be pinned between them. He was transported to a local hospital where he underwent a blood transfusion. It was discovered later that the blood he received was infected with Hepatitis C. He was forced to medically retire in 1984 and his health continued to deteriorate until he passed away on January 27, 2012.
Hector Ayala (1979 - 2010)
Police Officer III Hector Ayala was responding to a call from another officer who needed assistance at the scene of a large fight in Wheaton when his cruiser ran off the roadway striking a tree. Officer Ayala was extricated from the wreck and transported to Holy Cross Hospital where he died from his injuries. Ayala, 31, was a seven-year-veteran of the department. He is survived by his wife, four children, and his parents. The single-car collision occurred on Randolph Road in the vicinity of Wheaton High School at 2:20 Easter Sunday morning, April 4, 2010.
Luke T. Hoffman (1982 - 2007)
Police Officer I Luke Hoffman, assigned to the 4th District (Wheaton) died as a result of head injuries sustained when he was accidentally struck by a police cruiser. Officers had responded to the area of Bel Pre Road and Georgia Avenue in Aspen Hill for a report of a drunk driver. Officer Hoffman located the suspected DUI and initiated a traffic stop. The driver bailed out and fled on foot with Officer Hoffman in pursuit. On the old section of Georgia Avenue across from Leisure World, Officer Hoffman was struck by a police cruiser while standing on the side of the road near Montpelier Road. He died at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore approx. 24 hours later. The DUI suspect was later apprehended and charged.
Joseph A. Mattingly (1952 - 2003)
Lt. Joseph A. Mattingly was killed in the early morning hours of September 13, 2003, in a single-car accident on Bradley Boulevard near Seven Locks Road. He was acting Duty Commander that night, filling in so that someone else could have the night off. He was 51 years old, married, with four children. He joined the department on March 10, 1975. He was promoted posthumously to the rank of Captain. Joseph Mattingly is buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Frederick, Maryland.
James E. Walch(1963-1994)
On Tuesday, January 25, 1994, a Montgomery County police officer began a pursuit of a stolen vehicle in the area of Route 29 and Briggs Chaney Road. Police Officer III James Walch responded to assist from the Wheaton-Glenmont District Station on Randolph Road. Travelling eastbound on Randolph Road near Hammonton Road, Walch's police cruiser struck a patch of ice. His vehicle slid out of control causing the rear of the cruiser to strike a utility pole. The vehicle's gas tank ruptured and burst into flames. The 30-year-old Walch was killed instantly. The six-year veteran is buried at Gate of Heaven Cemetery. He left behind a wife and son
Mark Filer (1962 - 1993)
Police Officer III Mark Filer died on August 24, 1993, exactly one week after an automobile collision left him in critical condition. Filer was on his way to work from his home in Damascus when his cruiser was struck, head-on, by a pickup truck what was making a left turn. The 31-year-old Filer never regained consciousness from his head injury. He was a seven-year-veteran of the department, assigned to a shift at the Rockville District. He left behind a wife and two girls.
Harry W. Hamilton (1946 - 1986)
Harry W. Hamilton was killed in a single-car accident while enroute to work, December 24, 1986, at 5 o'clock in the morning. He was in uniform, on his way to the Police Academy in Rockville. While travelling on Gillis Falls Road in Carroll County, his personal vehicle slid on the icy roadway, striking the guard rail, killing the 40-year-old officer instantly. He was survived by his wife, Lois. Harry joined the Montgomery County Police on January 22, 1968. Harry Hamilton is buried in Mt. Airy, at the Prospect United Methodist Church where he and Lois attended.
Philip Carl Metz (1947 - 1981)
At 6:55 a.m. on Friday, March 27, 1981, Silver Spring Officer Phil Metz was just beginning his day work tour of duty when he was dispatched to the W. Bell and Co. store in White Oak to meet the manager and alarm company representative and assist in checking the interior of the building. Police had been dispatched earlier when the alarm was activated but the building was found to be secure. At 7:06 a.m. Officer Metz arrived at the store and met David Myers, the security employee, and Douglas Cummins, the assistant store manager. Together, the three men entered the store. At 7:16 a.m., a backup officer arrived, found the building doors locked, and was then dispatched to another location to check out a different alarm. Meanwhile, the three men inside the store proceeded to the main office where Metz entered first and was immediately ambushed by one gunman who shot him in the head. A second gunman jumped out and shot the other two men. Cummins, the assistant store manager, was dragged inside and forced to open the safe. He was then handcuffed to a file cabinet while the gunmen cleaned out the safe and then fled. Although severely wounded, Cummins was able to get free and call 911 for help. The time was 7:45 a.m. Officer Metz and the security man, Myers, were pronounced dead on the scene. Cummins survived his wounds and later testified at the trial. A total of seven people were ultimately arrested, tried and convicted. Metz was 33 years of age, and had been on the force nine years.
James E. Daly, Jr. & John M. Frontczak
(1933 - 1976) (1943 - 1976)
A robbery at the Citizens Savings and Loan in Potomac at 10:12 a.m. on Friday, March 26, 1976, was broadcast by police communications with a lookout for a red Chevy Nova. Corporal John Frontczak, assigned to Bethesda patrol, heard the lookout and approximately five minutes later, radioed that he was attempting to stop the car. However, the suspect car did not stop and Frontczak then radioed that he was in pursuit into a field behind Montgomery Mall. Radio contact with the corporal was then lost.
A backup patrol unit arrived approximately six minutes later and radioed that two police officers had been shot. The second officer, it was learned, was Captain James E. Daly, Jr., of the Field Supervision Section, who had been close by and responded to assist Corporal Frontczak. Both were in critical condition with gunshot wounds to the head. Captain Daly, age 43, was pronounced dead at Suburban Hospital at 9:06 p.m. on March 28, 1976. Corporal Frontczak, age 32, was pronounced dead at 6:00 p.m. on March 29, 1976. A 19-year-old high school dropout, AWOL from the Army, was subsequently identified as the assailant. He was captured by the South Carolina Highway Patrol heading south on Interstate 95. He plead guilty and was sentenced to life in prison. Captain Daly was survived by a wife and a son and two daughters. He is buried at Parklawn Cemetery. Corporal Frontczak was survived by a wife and two sons. He is buried in the cemetery at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Barnesville.
William P. "Mickey" Conboy, Jr. (1948 - 1973)
An undercover drug operation at the Silver Spring Holiday Inn on December 29, 1973, resulted in a shoot-out leaving one officer dead and his partner wounded. Officer William "Mickey" Conboy, Jr. and his partner, Sgt. James Elkins, had a prearranged meeting with two drug dealers in the hotel's lobby, and after the customary pat-downs, proceeded to a room on the 10th floor. Backup officers were stationed nearby as the four men entered room 1022. Once inside the room, one of the drug dealers pulled out a handgun and shot the officers. Conboy staggered from the room, shot in the chest. As the other officers entered the room, the gunman was still standing over Elkins. Shots were exchanged and the gunman was killed. Sergeant Elkins had been shot in the back and arm and would survive his wounds. Officer Conboy was transported to Holy Cross Hospital where he succumbed to his wounds. The 25-year-old Conboy had been an undercover officer for three years. He was survived by his wife, Joanne, and daughter, Michelle.
Donald A. Robertson (1937 - 1972)
Two gunmen robbed the Hahn's Shoe Store at Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road in Silver Spring shortly after 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 9, 1972, resulting in a patrol unit stopping a southbound suspect auto on Georgia Avenue near Wayne Avenue. The vehicle and its lone occupant were taken to the Silver Spring station on Sligo Avenue. Detective Lieutenant Donald Robertson, who had already worked the 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. shift, voluntarily stayed over to help. At approximately 6:30 p.m., Lieutenant Robertson became suspicious that the second holdup man might be hiding in the trunk and he went downstairs to search the car. Robertson was in the back seat attempting to remove the rear seat cushions when shots rang out. The lieutenant slumped in the seat. The gunman who had been hiding in the trunk was discovered a short time later dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was 25, and a heroin addict. The money taken from Hahn's was found in the trunk. Lieutenant Robertson died that evening at the Washington Sanitarium Hospital in Takoma Park of a wound to the head. The 35-year-old lieutenant had just completed 13 years in the department that same day.
William H. Jessie (1921 - 1964)
A 20-mile-long, high-speed pursuit of a stolen car ended the career of Lieutenant William Jessie. It was around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 30, 1964, when patrol officers spotted a stolen car leaving a gas station on Rockville Pike near Randolph Road. They pursued the vehicle north on Route 355 and were joined by other units, but, at speeds reaching 100 miles per hour, the suspect eluded apprehension. Although not required to participate, Lieutenant Jessie heard the chase over his police radio and managed to maneuver his cruiser in behind the stolen car as it raced north on the old narrow two-lane road. Nearing Hyattstown, Lieutenant Jessie lost control of his 1964 Plymouth detective cruiser as it topped a slightly curving hill and ran off the roadway. The cruiser overturned and caught fire. Seconds later, patrol officers arrived on the scene and were able to extricate Jessie from the wreck. He was transported to Suburban Hospital where he died at 7:05 p.m. of multiple injuries. The stolen car was located abandoned on Route 109 near Comus. A canine team tracked to another abandoned car in the field where the 17-year-old suspect was found hiding in the trunk. The 43-year-old lieutenant, a ten-year veteran of the force, was in charge of the Rockville Detective Bureau and had been named policeman of the year in 1963.
Robert L. McAllister (1927 - 1952)
Officer Robert McAllister was shot to death by a prisoner less than a block away from the Silver Spring Police Station. It was shortly before 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, November 23, 1952, when Officer McAllister, enroute to work, made the arrest at 16th Street and Colesville Road. Leaving the violator's car there, McAllister was driving his prisoner to the station in his personal car when he was shot three times at Colesville Road and Ramsay Avenue. His car swerved out of control, striking a car and road signs before coming to rest against the curb. The prisoner, bleeding profusely as a result of the crash, fled the scene and commandeered a ride back to his own car but he was detained by citizens who had witnessed the incident. When taken into custody again, the 38-year-old Bethesda man was found to be armed with two handguns and was determined to be a narcotics addict. Officer McAllister was dead on the scene. The 25-year-old officer had been on the force two years.
David G. Bissett (1897 - 1952)
A fire call on Dallas Avenue in Silver Spring on Tuesday, September 30, 1952, brought Officer David Bissett south on Piney Branch Road with the siren and red light operating on his police cruiser. Just before 2 p.m., a woman driving on Old Bladensburg Road entered the intersection with Piney Branch Road, striking the police car. The impact spun the cruiser around, throwing Bissett to the pavement. The 55-year-old patrolman was taken to the Washington Sanitarium in Takoma Park where he died of his injuries at 2 a.m. the following morning. The woman was charged with failing to yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle.
James E. Shoemaker (1889 - 1938)
Patrolman James Shoemaker was off duty the night of February 4, 1938 when he attempted to eject a disorderly woman from a beer hall on Conduit Road (now MacArthur Blvd.) in Glen Echo. According to eyewitnesses, the 49-year-old patrolman was kicked during the scuffle and fell to the ground. Following his collapse, he was transported to Georgetown Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. He was known to have suffered from a heart ailment, and the cause of death was, in all probability, attributed to a heart attack. Shoemaker had been in the department eight years and was assigned to the Bethesda substation. The 45-year-old woman he was scuffling with was charged with manslaughter.
Patrolman Webb S. Hersperger (1902 - 1933)
Patrolman Hersperger, 31, left his home in Poolesville riding his police motorcycle enroute to work at the Bethesda station. It was Sunday morning, June 18, 1933. While driving down Rockville-Darnestown Road near Quince Orchard, the patrolman suddenly was confronted by a passing vehicle coming towards him. The head-on collision killed Hersperger instantly.
Hersperger, the second officer to die in the line of duty, was buried at Monocacy Cemetery.
Patrolman Joseph Asbury Case (1888 - 1928)
The first police fatality occurred about 9 p.m. on Sunday, December 16, 1928, when 40-year-old Patrolman Joseph Case was operating his motorcycle with a sidecar south on Rockville Pike about a mile north of Bethesda when he crashed into the rear of an automobile which had stopped momentarily on the roadway. The two young men in the auto had stopped to change drivers and were standing outside when the crash occurred. They immediately placed the injured officer in their car and drove him to Georgetown Hospital where he died of a fractured skull at 1 a.m. on December 17 without regaining consciousness. The State's Attorney for Montgomery County ruled that the death was unavoidable and no charges were placed.
We do not have a photograph of Patrolman Case. If you do or know where we might find one, please contact the Webmaster.
MCPAA along with officers from MCPD conduct annual vigils at the burial site of each of our Fallen Heroes on the dates of their deaths.
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