Late last week I received — from a couple of sources, but first to my email inbox is my friend and colleague Betsy Brantner Smith — outstanding news related to the parole status of a would-be cop killer named Ollie Tate. Now 79-years-old, Tate had been up for parole despite his attempted murder of Tony Luketic, an Ohio police officer — as well as Luketic’s mom — back on November 30th 1995.
Frequent readers of this space will recall that back in September 2011, I posted an article about this matter, urging PoliceOne Members to take action in support of the Luketic family. Due in large measure to the overwhelming pressure from concerned local citizens in the Cleveland (Ohio) area, the persistent hard work of the Luketic family, and the efforts of PoliceOne Members, Tate will not be eligible for parole again until March 2014.
This weekend, I got a note from Tony Luketic in which he said, “I wanted to say thank you and to PoliceOne/Calibre Press ...I would really appreciate it if you could publish my thank you below.”
A Note of Thanks
“On behalf of my family, we would like to thank PoliceOne and all my fellow brothers and sisters in law enforcement who wrote letters and emailed the parole board opposing the release of Ollie Tate, the individual who shot me and my mother. After a couple of delays I was informed that his parole was denied and he will not be eligible for parole again until March 2014,” Luketic wrote.
“I am humbled by the amount of support we have received and the volume of emails and letters that were submitted to the parole board. I have no doubt that was a major contributing factor in keeping Tate in prison. Thank you again for your assistance and for reaffirming my belief that this profession is one of the greatest in the world,” Luketic concluded.
Yours truly would also like to add a thought of thanks to every PoliceOne Member who wrote an email or a “snail mail” letter to the Office of Victim Services last autumn. Together, we’ve helped the Luketic family in particular, and the citizens of Ohio in general.
The Incident in 1995
For those who don’t immediately recall the specifics of the incident, a brief refresher is worth inclusion here. On that fateful day in 1995, Tony Luketic and his mom were at the Society National Bank in the Collinwood section of Cleveland (Ohio) to make a brief transaction. Luketic was off duty and decided to go unarmed to the bank that day — this was the last day he’d leave the house unarmed.
While Luketic and his mom stood in the teller line, an armed assailant named Ollie Tate entered the bank with the intention of robbing the place. During the commission of his crime that November day, Tate would add attempted murder of a police officer to his sheet.
Because he was unarmed, Luketic decided to be “a good witness” until the moment he observed Tate threaten to shoot one of the tellers — the teller was too terrified to comply with Tate’s order to give him the money in the drawer. So, Luketic identified himself as a police officer, and soon thereafter a life-and-death struggle ensued. Luketic was shot once in the leg but managed to knock the gun out of Tate’s hand.
Seconds later, Tate managed to get the gun back. He then shot Luketic’s 51-year-old mother in the stomach. As Tate took aim to place another shot on Luketic’s mom, the injured LEO grabbed for the assailant’s gun a second time. Tate managed to shove the gun into Luketic’s armpit and fire, leaving Luketic totally disabled, his arm held on only by his sweatshirt and leather coat.
Tate then stood over Officer Luketic, put the gun to his head, and pulled the trigger. The five-shot revolver was empty.
Tate failed at his cold-blooded attempted execution of a man he knew to be a police officer only because he had run out of ammunition.
Looking Ahead to 2012
In the past few years, I’ve written a handful of columns in support of efforts to keep behind bars anyone and everyone who has killed — or attempted to kill — a police officer. In each instance thus far, we have been successful.
Let’s keep it up. I’ve learned that a man named Herman Bell is presently being considered for parole, despite the fact that on May 21, 1971, Bell murdered two NYPD police officers.
Patrolman Waverly Jones and Patrolman Joseph Piagentini were ambushed with no chance to defend themselves — both LEOs were shot in the back, and then, as they lay dying, Bell took those officers’ guns and executed both men with head shots.
Bell — an avowed member of the Black Liberation Army — has “been a model prisoner while in New York, where he has gained several graduate degrees and started programs to help other inmates and the communities from which they come,” according to a statement from Bell’s lawyer which appears at the end of this blog post by Jim Kouri.
Bell is a cold-blooded killer. For reasons that completely escape my comprehension, Inmate #DIN 79C0262 — his name doesn’t merit repetition — is being considered for release despite his “life” sentence. Click here to inform the NYS Department of Corrections about your opinions in the matter of Inmate #DIN 79C0262.
I submitted my own personal message just seconds before posting this column.
Stay safe my friends.