Toschi at Hall of Justice, San Francisco
David Ramon Toschi
July 11, 1931
|Died||January 6, 2018 (aged 86)|
San Francisco, California, United States
|Education||Galileo High School|
|Known for||The Zodiac Killer case|
David Ramon Toschi (//; July 11, 1931 – January 6, 2018) was an American law enforcement officer widely known for his efforts in the San Francisco Police Department as an inspector in the Zodiac Killer case. His personal style was the model for Bullitt and Dirty Harry.
Toschi was born to the Italian-American family of Sam and Millie Toschi in San Francisco, and was an alumnus of Galileo High School. Immediately upon graduation, he joined the U.S. Army, and became a member of the 24th Infantry Division during the Korean War, honorably discharged in 1952.
Returning to San Francisco, Toschi joined the San Francisco Police Department, where he served from 1952 to 1987. He was assigned to the S.F.P.D. homicide detail from 1966 to 1978. He is best known for his role as a chief investigator in the Zodiac Killer case, which he and partner, Inspector Bill Armstrong, began to work on after the murder of taxi driver Paul Stine; however, he also was assigned to the Zebra murders team, and in 1985 received a meritorious conduct award for curtailing the career of a rapist/burglar. Toschi also received attention for his style of dress, including bow-ties, 'loud' plaid suits, bounteous curls, and an exaggerated trench-coat. In 1976, his quest for attention led him to send anonymous letters admiring his own efforts to Armistead Maupin, then a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle; revelation of that led to him being removed from the case in 1978. Toschi was also accused (though later exonerated) of writing one of the Zodiac letters to Duffy Jennings, which the USPS crime lab verified as authentic but was later impeached by other experts; the suspicion ended Toschi's chance of replacing S.F.P.D. chief Charles Gain.
Shortly after he left the S.F.P.D., Toschi became Director of Security for St. Luke's Hospital in San Francisco's Mission District, and later served the same role for San Francisco's Pan Pacific Hotel. Toschi was vice president of North Star Security Services in Daly City. He was a technical advisor to the producers of the 2007 film Zodiac.
Toschi married Carol Bacigalupi in 1957, they had three daughters.
In popular culture
Screenwriters Harry Julian Fink and R. M. Fink also modeled Harry Callahan, the main character of Dirty Harry portrayed by Clint Eastwood, on Toschi;, while the film's villain - based on the Zodiac Killer - was called "The Scorpio Killer".
Steve McQueen claimed he copied Toschi's distinctive style of quick-draw shoulder-holster by wearing his gun upside down for the 1968 movie Bullitt. McQueen also modeled much of his Bullitt character on Toschi.
George Lucas gave an interview to Empire magazine once stating that the Zodiac murders captured his imagination at the time as a high schooler and then college student at USC, and he always felt like Toschi was harshly judged for how the investigation was handled. He explained this is why he named a location on Tatooine Tosche Station, "in honor of the SFPD inspector."
- Fagan, Kevin (January 10, 2018). "SF cop who hunted Zodiac killer dies. Dave Toschi was 86". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on January 11, 2018. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
- "David Toschi". San Francisco Chronicle. January 14, 2018. Retrieved January 4, 2019 – via Legacy.com.
- Jennings, Duffy (October 8, 2009). "40 years of Zodiac – The cold case that haunts Dave Toschi". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on October 15, 2011. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
- Genzlinger, Neil (January 12, 2018). "David Toschi, 86, Detective Who Pursued the Zodiac Killer, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
- KRON-TV (July 11, 1978). "Armistead Maupin on Inspector Dave Toschi & Zodiac Case". Bay Area Television Archive. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
- Kanaan, Greg (March 1, 2017). "When The Movies Get It Right: Probable Cause and David Fincher's Zodiac". The [Legal] Artist. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
- King, Daniel (October 5, 2005). "Chasing Zodiac: He murdered dozens of people and wrote weird notes to The Chronicle. Many years on, a movie is in the works". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
- "Zodiac (2007)". IMDb. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
- Alleyne, Richard (May 15, 2014). "Ex cop who led Zodiac Killer case inspired Steve McQueen's Bullitt". Daily Mail. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
- Graysmith, Robert (1986). Zodiac. St. Martin's Press. p. 96. ISBN 0-312-89895-9.
- Freer, Ian (September 1999). "George Lucas interview". Empire. Vol. 1 no. 123. Retrieved January 4, 2019.