We Remember... Our Heroes

Patrolman Charles F. Finn
Reading Police Department
End of Watch: Thursday, May 11, 1905

Patrolman Charles F. Finn was shot and killed while chasing three men he caught burglarizing a grain store. He began to chase the three men when one suddenly turned and shot him in the abdomen with a revolver.

The suspect was later apprehended and convicted of murder; he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Patrolman John W. Kissinger
Reading Police Department
End of Watch: Saturday, September 16, 1911

Patrolman John W. Kissinger was shot and killed while assisting another officer arrest a drunken man at a home on Locust Street. He was shot while struggling with the man in the back door of the house.

The suspect was taken into custody in the home one hour later.

Patrolman Henry C. Stoudt
Reading Police Department
End of Watch: Tuesday, July 1, 1924

Patrolman Henry C. Stoudt was shot and killed after making an arrest. Patrolman Stoudt had just made an arrest and was waiting at the corner of 11th Street and Pike Street when a man approached and shot Patrolman Stoudt, killing him

The suspect was later apprehended and executed.

Chief of Police Wilson H. Lewars
Hamburg Borough Police Department
End of Watch: Saturday, May 12, 1928

Chief Wilson H. Lewars was shot and killed while responding to a burglary in progress at the Goodman-Kattering Inc. silk mill located at Second and Grand Street in Hamburg Borough.

A second officer, Special Police Officer Daniel H. Bailey was also shot and did survive. The three bandits fled the scene and were later apprehended.

He had served with the agency for 5 years and was survived by his wife.

Patrolman Olin J. Wait
Reading Police Department
End of Watch: Saturday, September 2, 1972

Patrolman Wait was shot and killed by an off duty patrolman who suddenly opened fire on him for unknown reasons.

Patrolman Wait and two other officers were guarding the grounds of the Reading Air Show when the off duty officer opened fire on him without warning. The suspect then opened fire on another officer before fatally shooting himself in the chest.

The off duty officer was attending the air show with his wife and child when he opened fire.

Patrolman David Daniel Dragan
Exeter Township Police Department
End of Watch: Monday, July 12, 1976

Patrolman Dragan suffered a fatal heart attack while attempting to arrest a suspect following a high speed pursuit.

Patrolman Dragan had served with the agency for 10 months. He was survived by his wife and five children.

Officer John A. Ayello
Hamburg Boro Police Department
End of Watch: Friday, September 8, 2000

Officer Ayello died when he suffered a heart attack while making an arrest. Officer Ayello and another officer had responded to a domestic disturbance call involving a suspect who had outstanding warrants. While the suspect was being handcuffed, Officer Ayello suffered the heart attack. He was flown to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Officer Ayello had been in law enforcement for 21 years, and had founded several anti-drug youth groups in the area called "Hooked on Fishing, Not Drugs." He is survived by his wife and three grown children.

Police Officer Michael Harry Wise II
Reading Police Department
End of Watch: Saturday, June 5, 2004

Officer Wise died of wounds he received when he was accidentally shot by another officer who mistook him and two other undercover officers for suspects during a shootout.

Officer Wise and the two undercover officers were conducting a search for a suspect involved in an earlier shooting when they observed a man exit a car in front of them holding a handgun. The man immediately opened fire on the officers when he saw them. Officer Wise and another one of the officers exited the patrol car and exchanged fire with the suspects.

At the same time, another officer came upon the scene and observed the shootout. Thinking the officer still in the car was one of the suspect, he ordered him to drop his weapon. As the undercover officer continued firing at the suspect the uniformed officer fired four rounds. One of the rounds deflected off of the undercover car and struck Officer Wise in the head.

The undercover officer in the vehicle drove Officer Wise to a nearby hospital and he was then airlifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital, where he later died from his wounds. The other undercover officer continued chasing the suspect and apprehended a short time later. The suspect was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to only 13.5 to 27 years in prison.

Officer Wise had served with the Reading Police Department for two years. He is survived by his wife and one daughter.

Police Officer Scott A. Wertz
Reading Police Department
End of Watch: Sunday, August 6, 2006

Officer Scott Wertz was shot and killed at approximately 2:00 am after he and his partner responded to a fight at a local convenience store at the intersection of 8th and Walnut Streets.

Officer Wertz and his partner were working a plainclothes regional auto theft detail when the call was broadcast and they responded to the scene. When they arrived at the location, they heard several shots in the parking lot and saw a man leaving the lot.

As the officers approached the man he began to flee on foot. When Officer Wertz caught the man, he suddenly fired two shots, fatally striking Officer Wertz in the chest. Officer Wertz's partner immediately tackled the suspect and took him into custody.

Officer Wertz had served with the Reading Police Department for 9 years. He had previously worked as a prison guard and as a part time officer for the Sinking Spring and South Heidelberg Township Police Departments. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

Deputy Sheriff Kyle Pagerly
Berks County Sheriff's Department
End of Watch: Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Deputy Kyle Pagerly was shot and killed while serving a warrant as part of a fugitive task force at a home on Pine Swamp Road in Albany Township.

When task force members arrived at the scene the suspect ran into the woods. Deputy Pagerly and his canine pursued the suspect. When officers located him he opened fire with an AK-47, striking Deputy Pagerly in the head. Other officers returned fire and killed the subject.

Investigation revealed that the suspect had written a suicide note two days earlier and it is believed that he shot Deputy Pagerly in his attempt to commit suicide-by-cop.

Deputy Pagerly was flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.

Deputy Pagerly was a U.S. Army veteran and had served with the Berks County Sheriff's Department for five years and was also employed by the Western Berks Regional Police Department. He also served with the Spring Township Fire Department. He is survived by his expectant wife, Alecia.