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Hero Down: Hamilton Police Det. Melvin Gray Dies Unexpectedly

Hamilton, OH – Hamilton Police Department (HPD) Detective Melvin “Mel” Gray died unexpectedly on Oct. 30.

The HPD announced the 60-year-old detective’s sudden passing in a Facebook post later the same day.

“It is with great sadness, that we inform you of the passing of Detective Mel Gray,” the post read. “Please keep his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

Det. Gray’s exact cause of death was not released.

HPD Chief Craig Bucheit described him as a “rock-solid officer” who “could be counted on in any situation,” the Journal-News reported.

“He didn’t say a lot. He didn’t need to. His work and character said it all,” Chief Bucheit said. “We are going to miss him deeply.”

The longtime detective devoted 31 years of his life to serving the HPD, according to his obituary.

He served as a SWAT team member, patrolman, mounted patrol officer, and homicide detective during his years of service.

“He was an outstanding patrol officer, he was an outdoorsman, a hunter and marksman, so we picked him up for the team (SWAT),” former HPD Chief Scott Scrimizzi told the Journal-News. “He was one of our snipers, one of the best shots on the team and also a firearms instructor.”

Greenhills Police Chief Neil Ferdelman, who worked with Det. Gray as chief of the HPD until 2012, described him as a “spectacular” officer.

“He really opened up with children,” Chief Ferdelman told the Journal-News. “He was a friendly guy and enjoyed working with people…I can’t believe he is gone.”

Det. Gray leaves behind his wife of 34 years, JoAnna, as well as his four children and three grandchildren, according to his obituary.

He is also survived by his mother and his sister.

Det. Gray will be laid to rest on Nov. 6.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Hamilton Police Department (HPD) Detective Melvin “Mel” Gray, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


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