unheralded hero

railroad detective george ziemba

Death Classification: Line of Duty Death

Agency: Michigan Central Railroad Police Department

Rank: Detective

Badge:  Unknown

Served: 8 years

Unit of Assignment / Detail: Unknown

Location of Incident (Present Day): Dearborn, Michigan

Cause of Death: Gun Shot Wound

Age at Time of Death: Approximately 36


Date of Birth: About 1884

Date of Appointment: Unknown

Date of Incident: 16 May 1918

End of Watch: 25 May 1918

Date of Interment: Unknown


Unheralded Hero Investigation Began: 23 April 2020

Accepted By Agency: N/A Approved By Then Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad on 20 November 2020 as the incident occurred in their jurisdiction

Approved By National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial: December 2020


Interment Details

 Cemetery: Holy Cross Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan
 Grave Location: Section K, Lot 21
 Interment Disposition: Burial



 Military Service: No Military Service


Memorial Details

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall: Panel 31 West Line 32

Officer Down Memorial Page: Listed

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

Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial: Panel 8 East

Michigan Fallen Heroes Memorial: Not Listed

Wayne County First Responders Memorial: Not Listed


Incident & Biographic Details

Railroad Detective George Ziemba, Railroad Detective Rody Goe, and Railroad Detective Bernard Wozniak were shot and killed in the Dearborn Yards, near Miller Road in Dearborn, Michigan, while they conducted surveillance with five other detectives.

Earlier in the day, a railroad worker had discovered a pile of stolen tires hidden in the railroad yards. The detectives were alerted and hid near the area to await the return of the thieves.

At approximately 10:00 pm four men were observed approaching the area carrying timber they were going to use to string the tires onto. When Detective Goe shined his light on them and told them to stop, the men immediately opened fire. Detective Goe, Detective Wozniak, and Detective Ziemba were mortally wounded and one other railroad detective non-life-threatening wounds. It is believed that Detective Wozniak was inadvertently struck by a shotgun blast fired by another detective as he ran up an embankment.

The other detectives returned fire but did not strike the suspects as they fled. Detective Wozniak succumbed to his wounds on May 20th, 1918, and Detective Ziemba succumbed to his on May 25th, 1918.

Two of the suspects were apprehended the following night. Both men were convicted of Detective Goe's murder and sentenced to life in prison. On July 24, 1922, one of the men escaped from the state prison in Jackson. He was recaptured in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 14, 1923. Both men were released in 1941.

Detective Ziemba had served with the Michigan Central Railroad Police Department for at least eight years. He was survived by his wife and two sons.