SAGER, DONALD W

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Officer Donald W. Sager

On this day in Baltimore City Police History 24 April 1970, we lost our brother Officer Donald W. Sager to gunfire based on the following; Officer Donald W. Sager, assigned to the Central District, was shot and killed on Friday, April 24, 1970, while working in the 1200 block of Myrtle Avenue. In Officer Sager’s car was his partner Officer Stanley Sierakowski, who was shot and seriously wounded. As Officers Sager and Sierakowski were seated in the car, the suspect shot through the back window, striking Officer Sager in the back of the head, killing him instantly. Officer Sierakowski was then shot 5 times with a .45 caliber pistol. The suspect’s sole motivation was to ambush a police officer. The suspect was a militant member of the Black Panther Party. 

sager1 Sunpaper Photo taken by Photographer Irving Phillips
25 April 1970 Captioned:  Shell Casings Found
Arrows point to three shell casings found on Myrtle Avenue 
Two police officers were ambushed about 10 o'clock last night by members of the Black Panthers

City Policeman Shot Dead; Second Wounded Officer's Body Found Beside Car
A massive search begun in West Baltimore three suspects held, one policeman was killed in the second was critically wounded last night in a shooting in the 1200 block of Myrtle Avenue in West Baltimore. Police identified the victim as Patrolmen Donald W Sager 35 who did with the city police force about 17 years patrolman Stanley Sierakowski 40 with reported in critical condition at Maryland General Hospital. Police said the shooting occurred about 10 PM. Within minutes, more than 40 other policeman and 14 marked and unmarked cars flooded the area seal it off and began an intensive house to house and rooftop search three suspects arrested. Shortly afterward, the rest of three suspects was reported. Police said they found two men hiding under some steps in the vicinity of the shooting. They were taken to central district police station. The third suspect, found in a vacant lot near the scene of the shooting, was taken to Provident Hospital, although he was not reported to be wounded. The Commissioner Donald D Pomerleau and 12 homicide detectives appeared at the scene, and that the two hospitals within a half-hour of the shooting. The police reported that the two patrolmen had been called to a home in a 1200 block of Myrtle Avenue to handle a domestic disturbance. Haven't taken care the disturbance. They returned to their car and was then that the gunman or gunmen started shooting at the policeman. Police reported that patrolman Sergio ASCII was found in a gutter between the police car and the sidewalk and patrolman Sager was inside the car. With at least three suspects in custody by midnight, police centered their search around a two-block area near the corner of shields place and motor Street, where one patrolman fought a gun duel in an alley with a suspect.

Searchlight is Used 
The fire department set the truck with a high power searchlight to illuminate the rooms of buildings in the area. At least half of the houses are vacant and the police were breaking into them to search for more suspects. The shooting match between the patrolman and the suspect happened within five minutes of the shooting on Myrtle Avenue and only about a block away. Patrolman Roger Nolan of tactical squad reported that he was driving in the area when he saw a man running along Fremont Avenue. He had of his car and chased the man into an alley where the suspect turned and fired six shots at him, patrolman Nolan returned six shots and gave Chase again, but he said he tripped over some garbage cans and lost a man. Attorney Richard Rosen, the lawyer refused to say it, the three defendants arrested in this shooting were Black Panthers. Sources close to the investigation said the panther party was not implicated in the shooting. The third suspect was arrested shortly before midnight Saturday at the main post office where he is a clerk. He was identified as Marshall E Conway, 24. Police searched his home. The 40-hour block of Argyle Avenue. They said they recovered no weapons all three defendants are charged with murder and as a result, with intent to commit murder in the death the patrolmen Donald Sager and the wounding of patrolman Stanley search Sierakowski, 42 preliminary hearing yesterday for the defendants were postponed until 3 PM today in Central Municipal Court. Mr. Rosen, the lawyer for the Black Panthers represented Jack London 25 of the 1700 block of N. Asquith St. at 1 PM session in central Municipal Court lawyer was a company by two men who identified themselves as Black Panthers. The two were not dressed in familiar paramilitary panther garb. Judge Joseph L Broccolino Junior allowed Mr. Rosen and one of the men who identified himself as William P coats of the 1100 block of Cherry Hill Rd. to remain in the hearing, which was closed to all spectators but the press. Mr. Coates said he was the closest friend. He Mr. Johnson has. After several urgent nods for Mr. Coates, the defendant accepted. Mr. Rosen as his lawyer, Mr. Rosen then volunteered. I'm not guilty. Although such a plea is not made at a preliminary hearing. Earlier in the day. The other two suspects, Mr. Conway and James Powell 33 of the 1400 block of N. Mount St. appear before Judge Broccolino any in a court session that also was cleared of all spectators but the press. Mr. Conway also is charged with assault with intent to commit murder in the running gun battle with the patrolman who had gone to investigate a shooting. Police said that shortly after the 10 PM shooting patrolman Roger Nolan traded pistol shots with a man in a nearby alley patrolman Nolan was not wounded.

Dead on Arrival
Patrolman Sager and patrolman service allow key were shot in a hail of bullets as he sat in his patrol car on a 1200 block of Myrtle Avenue, where they had gone to investigate a domestic complaint patrolman Sager had a bullet in his brain and right hand was pronounced dead on arrival at Provident Hospital. Patrolman sellers aroused. He was in the air conditioned yesterday at Maryland central hospital with four wounds to the stomach and wounds to both hands

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Officer Sager had served with the agency for 12 years. He was survived by his wife and child. Though he is no longer with us, we his brothers and sisters of the Baltimore Police Department won’t let him be forgotten. RIP Brother…
On this Day In Baltimore Police History 1970, we lost our Brother Officer Donald W. Sager to gun fire based on the following:

On 24 April 1970 Police Officer Donald W Sager assigned to the Central District, was shot and killed while working the 1200 block of Myrtle Avenue. In Officer Sager’s car with him was his partner Officer Stanley Sierakowski, Officer Sierakowski was also shot and seriously wounded.

As Officers Sager and Sierakowski were seated in their radio car, an unprovoked member of the Black Panthers (Marshall “Eddie” Conway) snuck up from the rear of their car and began shooting through the back window at them. His first rounds struck Officer Sager in the back of the head killing him instantly.

Officer Sierakowski rolled out his door in an attempt to escape the attack, and shoot the suspect… however, he too was shot. In fact, when the smoke cleared it was learned Officer Sierakowski would end up taking 5 rounds from that .45 caliber pistol. The suspect’s sole motivation was to ambush, and kill police.

During the early 70’s the heat of the 1968 riots was still brewing and was far from cooled down… African American groups like the Black Panthers were killing police at an alarming rate, often unprovoked. Either through fake calls to the police drawing officers to areas where they were set up to be ambushed, of just by following them around and waiting for them to let their guard down… stop for a bite to eat, a car stop, etc.

When an officer wasn’t looking, or least expecting it; he would be attacked. And it wasn’t just white police, the Panthers considered all police their enemy, and they would shoot a black officer as quick as they would a white officer… In fact, during that time in our history, black officers had it pretty rough, they were not excepted by the white community, and they were shunned by most of the black community.

It was a confusing time, a time when a man could be shot for no other reason that wearing a uniform, the Black Panther in question wasn’t being chased, wasn’t wanted by the officers.. had never been arrested by the partners.. they just happened to have been wearing a uniform at a time when the Black panthers wanted to shoot and kill police.

This year is more than 4o years since the suspect took the life of a Baltimore Police Officer he was set free - After being behind bars for more than 40 years, a man convicted of killing a police officer is a free man. Marshall “Eddie” Conway – a former member of the Black Panther Party – who killed a man just because he wore the uniform of a police officer. He was released from prison Tuesday. Civil rights activists say it’s a big win, but a big win for who.. the officer was sitting in his car, with his partner preparing paperwork when they were ambushed via an unprovoked assassination by no less than four members of the Black Panther Party. So while some fist bumps, and throw their fists in the air, others are upset that a cold blooded murder is walking free.

Eddie Conway was convicted of killing Baltimore City police officer Sager in 1970 but civil rights activists say he didn’t get a fair trial. For the first time in more than 40 years, Marshall “Eddie” Conway walks free. Conway was convicted of the 1970 murder of Baltimore City police officer Donald Sager. Sager and his partner were ambushed by three gunmen while responding to a domestic disturbance call in West Baltimore. Conway was a leader in the Black Panther Party, a controversial militant organization. He’s always claimed he was framed for the crime. While his conviction stands, Conway was re-sentenced to time served after he challenged whether the jury in his case was given proper instructions. But officials with the Baltimore City police union say they are troubled by Conway’s release. “It’s a difficult thing to learn after all these years that he’s not going to fulfill the sentence he was given, which was death,” the vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police told WJZ’s media partner, the Baltimore Sun. Conway’s supporters say they understand the frustration. “I can understand them saying that because they lost one of their partners. They lost one of their members,” Hill-Aston said. Officer Sager’s family has also expressed frustration over the years with the push for Conway’s release. Under an agreement, Conway will be on supervised probation for the next five years.

I can only say I am sorry to the Family of Officer Sager, and to the memory of Officer Sager... I am sorry we couldn't have done better to make sure your killer would stay in jail where he belongs. I am sorry we don't do more to promote police to the public in a way that would have them understand what it would be like without police. I think we need to do more rallies, hang more posters to make the public know of the sacrifices you, and others made.

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Panther Role Admitted

Newspaper reports of the Times; May 25, 1972; pg. D24

Murder case defended sites party orders

Jack Ivory Johnson Jr., The third Black Panther Party member to go on trial for the ambush slaying of a policeman, told police in a statement admitted into evidence in criminal court yesterday that he was sent on the killing mission on orders of the party.

“When Black Panthers are told, they are to do a job, no questions are ever asked; they just have to go and do it,” Mr. Johnson was quoted as saying by Detective Lieutenant Thomas J. McKew, of the police department’s Homicide Division.

Two other party members already have been sentenced to life in prison, plus consecutive terms in the slaying of Patrolman Donald Sager, 35, and the near fatal wounding of Sgt. Stanley Sierakowski, then Patrolman, in April 1970 [24 April 1970 - We lost our Brother Police Officer Donald W. Sager]

A Fourth Man Mentioned

For the first time since the trials began, mention was made of a fourth man by Mr. Johnson in his statement. The fourth man, Mr. Johnson statement said, carried a sawed-off shotgun, but apparently did not fire it.

Mr. Johnson of the 1700 block of N. Asquith St., told Lieut. McKew that his role in the shootings was to make sure that the policeman nearest the microphone in a departmental cruiser did not call for assistance.

Mr. Johnson declared that he merely fired two shots in the air from his 32 caliber pistol, because after he had seen all the shots fired at the officer by the other men, he “did not have the heart to just kill the pig,” the jurors and the Judge J. Harold Grady’s courtroom were told.

Testimony disclosed that patrolman Sager was killed by bullets that struck him in the head and chest and that Sgt. Sierakowski received several 45 caliber gunshot wounds from which he recovered.

The two men were sitting in a parked police car in the 1200 block of Myrtle Avenue making out a report on a domestic complaint when they were felled by a barrage of shots from behind their car.

Lieut. McKew quoted Mr. Johnson is saying at the outset of the verbal statement that, “you’re not going to get me for killing anybody because I fired my gun in the air.”

“If I had did what I was supposed to do you would never have caught me,” Mr. Johnson was further quoted as saying.

Ask what he was supposed to do, Mr. Johnson replied that, “it was his job to see that the police officer did not get to the mic,” the Lieut. testified.

The defended in his statement asserted that he and James E Powell, 35, who already has been convicted, or on the east side of the city when they received a call to come to the west side where they were notified they had a “job to do” and to make sure they had gloves and firearms.


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Baltimore Police Department
242 W. 29th St., Baltimore, MD.
Emergencies: 9-1-1  Non-emergencies: 410-396-2037
BALTIMORE POLICE Web Site: http://www.baltimorepolice.org 

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Again please contact Ret. Det. Kenny Driscoll if you have pictures of you, your family, or other members of the Baltimore Police Department and wish to see them remembered here on this tribute site. We are anxious to honor the fine men and women who have served this fine police department. Ret. Det. Kenny Driscoll can be reached at  Kenny@BaltimoreCityPoliceHistory.com - Like us on Facebook, or contact us for a mailing address 

Copyright © 2002 Baltimore City Police History - Ret Det Kenny Driscoll

More details

Name Description
End of Watch 24 April, 1970
City, St. 1200 block of Myrtle Avenue
Panel Number 21-W: 3
Cause of Death Gunfire
Weapon - Handgun
District Worked Central

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