Fallen Hero Obituary

Law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty in Massachusetts

Officer James E. Gatzounas Age: 29 years old Tour: 18 months Holyoke Police End of Watch: Saturday, January 1, 1977
Officer James Gatzounas died after being assaulted as he and other officers responded to a fight at a New Year's Eve street party. As Officer Gatzounas attempted to place one of the suspects under arrest he was repeatedly kicked and punched, and he went into cardiac arrest.

Two suspects, ages 19 and 17, were charged with first degree murder. When Officer Gatzounas' autopsy revealed he died of cardiac arrest instead of injuries from the beating, the charges were reduced to manslaughter.

Officer Gatzounas had been with the agency for 18 months and had previously served with the United States Army during the Vietnam War. He was survived by his wife and child.

Remembering …

mlemf-logoOver 340 law enforcement officers have lost their lives while protecting the citizens of the Commonwealth. This encompasses state and local police, federal, sheriff and correction officers.

The Massachusetts Law Enforcement Memorial will serve as a permanent reminder of their dedication and ultimate sacrifice.

Our Strength is in their Memories