Stanley Alexander “Tex” Pitakos


  • Newport Patrolman
  • Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal
  • Killed in a gun battle with an armed robber

Tex was born November 10, 1923 in Dayton, Ohio. His father, a cash register assembler, was shot and killed in and underworld-controlled gambling room. When Tex was eight years old, his mother took him and his brother to Newport. 

Tex was working for Wright Aeronautical at Lockland Station and therefore exempt from the World War II draft, but on February 16, 1943, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps. He flew thirty air combat missions during four major campaigns. Warrant Officer Pitakos was honorably discharged on October 23, 1945 with a Distinguished Flying Cross (for “distinguishing himself in support of operations by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight”) and an Air Medal (for “a single act of heroism or meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight”). 

On July 5, 1952, an 80-mile-per-hour pursuit by Covington Police Department ended up in Newport where the pursued car crashed into Tex’s personal vehicle causing him minor injuries. Ten days later, he joined the Newport Police Department. 

During 1953 he survived a shootout during a holdup at Glen Schmidt’s Playtorium. While off duty on May 20, 1955, Motorcycle Patrolman Pitakos discovered and helped capture three burglars who had broken into Widrig’s Pharmacy on York Street. Police Chief George Gugel named him to a prestigious committee on June 7, 1955, to formulate plans for a reorganization of the police department. On August 18, 1957, Patrolman Pitakos and his partner were credited with saving two lives in a fire when they smelled smoke coming from the second floor of a residence at 612 Central Avenue. Eight days later, he had shots fired at him while successfully pursuing and capturing a murderer, several minutes after the act. On September 14, 1957, he overpowered and disarmed a man with a knife. On August 25, 1957, Patrolman Pitakos survived another shootout, this one at the Midwestern Bar at Sixth and Central. He was mentioned dozens of other times in newspapers during his short six-year career. 

On October 15, 1958, Roosevelt Dawson held up Shostack for $114. A store employee, Norbert Ridiman, walked in on the robbery and Dawson took a shot at him. Patrolman Tex Pitakos was at the Fourth Street firehouse when he received the holdup broadcast. He assured the fire personnel he would capture the bandit and see them again in a few minutes. Patrolman Pitakos trailed Dawson to Fourth and York Streets where two other police cruisers closed in. 

Dawson attempted to hide in the entryway of the Licking Valley Building and Loan Association. From behind cover, Patrolman Pitakos called to Dawson, “throw out your gun and come out!” Instead, Dawson came out firing and shot Patrolman Pitakos in the chest. As Patrolman Pitakos fell, he fired five shots at Dawson. One missed.

Dawson turned his attention to the other arriving officers, emptying his revolver at them. Detective Chief Fredericks and Detectives Ciafardini and Jones returned fire, striking Dawson several times, and knocking him to the ground. In all, 27 shots were fired and twelve took effect on and killed Dawson. 

True to his word, Patrolman Pitakos did capture the bandit and did, a few minutes later, see the Fire Department personnel. They transported him to Booth Hospital in Covington where he died minutes after he arrived. 

For more information on his life and death, see his Line of Duty Death page.