BPD Remembers: The men and women of the Boston Police Department remember the service and sacrifice of Patrolman Joseph E. Gonya who was killed in the line of duty on this day 100 years ago. On Sunday, October 21, 1923. Patrolman Joseph Gonya was shot and killed while attempting to apprehend three auto theft suspects in Cleary Square. Two suspects were eventually apprehended. Both of them were charged with murder but were acquitted at trial.
Patrolman Gonya was a U.S. Navy Veteran of WWI. He had served with the Boston Police Department for four years and had previously served with the Mansfield Police Department. He was survived by his parents, brother, and two sisters.
Patrolman Gonya is buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Mansfield, MA. His name is located on the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington D.C., Panel 11 East Line 5. His name is also forever engraved on the Hero Wall at Boston Police Headquarters and the Massachusetts Law Enforcement Memorial at the State House in Boston.
In Boston, a Hero Sign has been placed in his honor in the area Cleary Square in Hyde Park. The sign is to forever honor the memory of a man who gave his life in service to his city. If you ever find yourself in the area and you happen to see his Hero Sign, kindly take a moment to honor and acknowledge the service and sacrifice of a brave man who died protecting and serving his city.