Officer Wallace J. Muscovich was off duty and walking on Franklin Street near 10th on April 16, 1944 when he heard a gunshot. He saw a man run out of a second-hand clothing store, stop, turn, and fire a round at the proprietor. The proprietor fell to the ground. The shooter ran south on Franklin followed by a young woman. Muscovich commandeered a passing car, jumped on the running board, and gave chase. He lost sight of the woman, but followed the suspect to a hotel, and confronted him in the second floor hallway.
Muscovich, described as a crack shot, fired three times at the armed suspect and dropped him. The suspect was able to fire twice at Muscovich, hitting him both times. The officer and the suspect were transported to Highland Hospital, and Oakland P.D. officers conducted an intense search for the female.
Investigators soon established that the suspect had attempted to rob the clothing store, and that his female accomplice was an escapee from a state institution.
Muscovich received massive blood transfusions from his brother officers. He hovered between life and death for a week, finally succumbing to his wounds on April 23. He was survived by his wife and 8-year-old son.
A native of Vilna, Poland, Muscovich was appointed to the Oakland Police Department as an “emergency patrolman” in June 1943; that is, he was a replacement for a regular officer who had been called into service for the war effort. He was a former professional wrestler who went by the name of “Ivan Managoff.”