unheralded hero

officer benton Joseph hacker

Death Classification: Line of Duty Death

Agency: Detroit Police Department

Rank: Police Officer

Badge:  1862

Served: 25 years

Unit of Assignment / Detail: McClellan Station

Location of Incident (Present Day): Detroit, Michigan

Cause of Death: Gun Shot Wound

Age at Time of Death: 64


Date of Birth: 23 March 1894

Date of Appointment: Unknown

Date of Incident: 20 February 1948

End of Watch: 29 March 1958

Date of Interment: Unknown


Unheralded Hero Investigation Began: 24 February 2020

Accepted By Agency: 6 April 2020

Approved By National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial: 11 December 2020


Interment Details

 Cemetery: Forest Lawn Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan
 Grave Location: Unknown
 Interment Disposition: Burial



 Military Service: No Military Service


Memorial Details

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel 38 West Line 32

Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed

Memorial at the American Police Hall of Fame & Museum: Not Listed

Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial: Not Listed

Michigan Fallen Heroes Memorial: Not Listed

Wayne County First Responders Memorial: Not Listed

Detroit Police Department Memorial: Listed


Incident & Biographic Details

On February 20, 1948 at 12:05am Detroit Police Officers Benton J Hacker & Vincent G. Kashazta in a McClellan Station Scout Car spotted robbery suspects Frank Banning and Pasquale Gizzi in their getaway vehicle. They stopped the suspect vehicle at Kercheval Avenue & Hart Avenue near the Detroit Terminal Railroad Crossing. Officer Hacker got out of the patrol vehicle to question the subjects on the two gas station robberies when Frank Banning exited the passenger side of the car and opened fire, striking Hacker in his left arm. The bullet passed through the arm into Officer Hacker's chest/heart and down into the abdomen/liver area.

Officer Kashazta returned fire. Hacker was knocked to the ground but started to rise and return fire on Frank Banning. Banning screamed as if shot and was pulled back into the suspect vehicle by Gizzi. Gizzi took off and was pursued by two more Detroit police scout cars. At McClellan and Elsa Avenues Gizzi's vehicle was pushed into the curb and Gizzi gave up to Officer Grace. Banning exited the vehicle shooting five more rounds at the officers before a short foot pursuit where Frank Banning gave up and was arrested.

Patrolman Hacker was transported to the hospital with gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen. Patrolman Hacker survived his injuries and returned to work on light duty until he medically retired in 1949. Banning was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 50 to 60 years in prison. Patrolman Hacker continued to have liver and stomach problems over the years and died on March 29, 1958, due to complications stemming from his original injury.

Frank Banning had been given a Presidential Pardon after serving six years in prison for a jewel theft. Banning was serving a 20 year sentenced when he was released. Eight months later he shot Detroit Officer Benton J Hacker. Banning pled guilty to assault with intent to murder on December 5, 1950 and received 50-60 years in prison.

Hacker was survived by his wife, daughter, brother and sister.