Patrolman Claude J. Profili

Fallen Hero

 Police Officer Claude J. Profili


Officer Profili responded to a hold-up alarm at the Maryland National Bank at 520 Franklintown. Upon his arrival he walked up to the bank where he saw two suspects robbing the bank. He withdrew his weapon and began to give orders to them. A third suspect he did not see, shot him in the head with a .45 caliber pistol. Officer Profili was married and the father of two children. The suspects were apprehended. Officer Profili served in the U.S. Navy from March 20, 1946 to January 15, 1948.

On this day in Baltimore Police History 1964 we lost our brother Police Officer Claude J. Profili to gunfire based on the following -

January 23 1964 a Chevy Sedan was stolen from the Bowie Race track, that car along with a stolen license plate from a different time, and location would be used in a robbery that would change the lives of many. Henry Haggard the attended at a service station at the corner a few doors down from the bank said the day before the robbery and shortly before the time of the robbery a man push a 1953 Studebaker, gray two-door sedan with Maryland tags (turned upside down) on to his lot. The attendant at the time, 23-year-old Haggard said the man he saw would be described as being between 24 and 26, he was a white male, dressed nice, wearing a coat and tie with a tan top coat. He was said to have stopped the car near the station, and then pushed it the last few feet up onto the lot. Haggard said the guy walked down the street toward the bank, peering over toward the bank when for no reason, he came running back, jumped in the car turned it over with no issues and peeled wheels off the lot and up the street west on Franklin Street. Haggard went on to say, the man told him it was not his car, but one which a dealer had loaned him for a test drive.

The following day, four men would rob the Maryland National Bank branch and Franklin Town Road and Franklin Street. As they entered the bank, three of the men, armed with an automatic pistol, a revolver and a rifle insisted the tellers all face away from them, and look at the wall behind them. Likewise all customers were forced to face the wall opposite the wall the tellers would be facing. One of the bandits would stand at the door, and as new customers came in they would be put against the wall, and robbed of their property and monies. A customer, Ms. Grace Mullingar, 25 of the 3600 block of Greenvale Road said, a teller put bundles of money into a brown paper shopping bag and gave it to the suspects.

Shortly after the robbery began a call went out for a 10-31 robbery; Patrolman Claude J. Profili heard a radio call at 1:37pm for another two man car to go to the bank. This bank was known for false alarms. Patrolman Profili was in the area, driving through. He pulled up to the bank, got out and entered. According to witnesses, and assistant cashier, Mr. Walter Haney saw the policeman and to the bank and nodded his head at the robber. With this Patrolman Profili was shot in the forehead by the robbery suspect receiving the nod.

With that nod Officer Profili was killed in the line of duty, the suspect turned and fired a shot that would land Officer Profili in the hospital with a bullet lodged against his brain. That bullet would take it’s time, but on 6 Feb 1964, it killed our brother for nothing more than responding to a call of a bank alarm at a bank that had been known for numerous false hold-up alarms in the past.

Mr. Haney was never formally accused of being in on the robbery, and we’ve all experienced victims getting a little stupid when we arrive. It could be they feel safe, the police are there, or it could be a warning the suspect. In either case, on 29 January 1964 that Bank Teller’s ignorance cost a good man, and good police his life. When Officer Profili approached the bank, which had two sets of double doors in the front, he had his pistol drawn. Upon entering the first set of doors, the suspect opened the second set of doors and fired a single shot. That shot would strike Officer Profili in the forehead above his left eye. Officer Profili fell backward and down the steps out to the street. The four suspects fled the scene with $23,466. One was apprehended within 48 hours. As is always the case, he gave information on the others, they were apprehended several days later by FBI agents. One was captured in Las Vegas, Nevada, another in Ozark, Arkansas, and the third in Denver, Colorado.

Officer Profili would be rushed to the Lutheran Hospital where he died eight days later from that shot.

They were able to trace the license plate on the auto to Vincent Lee Sirbert, 32 a Maryland born man to his residence in Virginia. He quickly became wanted in connection with warrant for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution from Virginia on a grand larceny charge.

Patrolman Claude J Profili is survived by his wife the former Clara Lejsiak, his mother Mrs. Alain Digenio two children Cynthia, and Claude Profili Junior, along with three brothers John B, Bernard, the Louis G Profili. Burial was held at the Holy Redeemer Cemetery.

Three of the suspects were convicted in Officer Profili's murder and sentenced to life on July 2, 1964. Officer Profili had been with the agency for 12 years at the time of his death.

As we take this time to remember our brother, and thank him for his service and sacrifice.  We his brothers and sisters of the Baltimore Police Department will not let him be forgotten. God Bless and rest in Peace.

The Baltimore Sun Thu Jan 30 1964 72

Click HERE or above to see full size article

The Baltimore Sun Thu Jan 30 1964 72

Click HERE or above to see full size article

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More details

End of Watch 6 February, 1964
City, St. 520 Franklintown
Panel Number 1-W: 17
Cause of Death Gunfire
District Worked Western

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