Hezzie Sessomes Jr., police sergeant

September 10, 1994|By Howard Libit | Howard Libit,Sun Staff Writer

Sgt. Hezzie T. Sessomes Jr., a decorated 21-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department, died Wednesday night in his Pikesville home of cancer. The Baltimore native was 46.

A member of the crime resistance unit from 1985 until he went on medical leave in April, Sergeant Sessomes was remembered by colleagues as everyone's friend.

"Hezzie was always the consummate gentleman," said Homicide Wendell M. France, who grew up with Sergeant Sessomes. "He was committed to helping people and he never expected anything in return. "

Sergeant Sessomes gained citywide recognition -- including an article on the front page of The Evening Sun -- in May 1993 when he was wounded in the leg while stopping a robbery attempt at a Northwest Baltimore fast-food restaurant. For his efforts, he was awarded the department's Certificate of Valor.

During the course of his work, Sergeant Sessomes spoke to many community groups and businesses about crime prevention.

"He enjoyed his job and you could see it," said Lt. Diane K. Dutton, his commanding officer during his final year of active duty. "We received hundreds of letters from citizens, community groups and companies praising his work."

Even after being diagnosed with cancer 2 1/2 years ago, Sergeant Sessomes worked as long as he was physically able.

"He always had a smile and would not allow anything to bother him," said Officer Charles E. Feaster, a friend of 12 years who worked closely with Sergeant Sessomes in the crime resistance unit. "Even at some of his weakest moments, he still asked me to come and pick him up to bring him to work."

During his early years on the force, Sergeant Sessomes -- then a patrolman in Little Italy -- once came upon a security guard who had been shot during a holdup, recalled Officer Richard Hayes of the Central District, a friend of 30 years. Rather than wait for the ambulance, he picked up the guard, put him in his patrol car and drove him directly to the hospital, saving his life.

A tribute to Sergeant Sessomes that was held in April -- shortly after he was forced onto medical leave -- drew more than 300 people, including many police officers from around the country who knew him through his work with national law enforcement organizations and from crime prevention conferences.

A graduate of Southern High School, Sergeant Sessomes attended two years of classes at the University of Baltimore. He held a black belt in kung fu, as does his son, Deszar.

Services will be held at noon Tuesday at the March Funeral Home, 4300 Wabash Ave., Baltimore, after a wake that will begin at 11 a.m.

Besides his son, he is is survived by his wife of 13 years, the former Dawn Bell; his father, Hezzie T. Sessomes Sr.; four brothers, Hezzie T. Sessomes Jr. II, Donald Powell, Larry Sessomes and Paul Sessomes, all of Baltimore; and two sisters, India Lemon of Baltimore and Marlene Johnson of Colts Neck, N.J.

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