NBC Philadelphia, Byron Scott
Police Sgt. Joseph Szczerba was stabbed to death while chasing a suspect. He's the first New Castle County officer to die in the line of duty since 1972.
An 18-year veteran of the New Castle County Police Department was stabbed to death on duty early Friday morning.
"This is one of the saddest days for this department," said Police Colonel Michael McGowan.
Police Sgt. Joseph L. Szczerba was stabbed when he caught up to a suspect he was chasing on foot. Other officers tried to perform CPR on Szczerba. He was rushed to Christiana Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
"He was a good guy, likable, you know," said retired Lt. Bruce Taylor who trained Sgt. Szczerba years ago. "You knew he was going to do well," Taylor said, too emotional to say anything more.
Sgt. Szczerba was a 1985 graduate of Salesianum High School, where he played football. The school honored his contributions on their website.
"He was a hardnosed player, who worked extremely hard and got the most out of his talent," said former Salesianum Football Coach Jim Brazill, who was an assistant during Joseph's playing days. "He played up to the name that had been set forth by his brothers."
Two other officers were injured in the incident, but their injuries are not life-threatening, according to authorities.
"It is a devastating loss to our department," said Cpl. John Weglarz. "Just like anywhere when they lose a brother or a sister."
The suspect, a 45-year-old man, is in custody.
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