1880-1923

City Marshal Robert A. Clark
Black Hawk Town Marshall

 

On July 10, 1869, Black Hawk City Marshal Robert A. Clark was killed by Thomas Cranmer while serving an arrest warrant with Constable Peter P. Herbert from Central City. The two lawmen were searching for two brothers, James and Thomas Cranmer, who fled Central City after assaulting a cook. They found the brother's horses and wagon four miles from Black Hawk near Dora's Ranch. They knocked on the door of an apparently abandoned cabin, entered and searched for the two men. Marshal Clark confronted James on the first floor and Constable Herbert discovered Thomas hiding in the loft. Thomas Cranmer told Constable Herbert he would be down in a moment so Herbert descended the stairs only to find James Cranmer attacking Marshal Clark with a club. Thomas Cranmer, who was still in the loft, started shooting through the cracks in the floor at the two lawmen. The first bullet struck Marshal Clark in the head killing him instantly. Constable Herbert returned fire but was shot in the right forearm. Herbert realized Marshal Clark was dead, mounted Clark's horse and returned to town to get help.
 

Sheriff Grimes of Gilpin County and a posse of men arrived at the cabin only to find Marshal Clark's lifeless body in the cabin. James Cranmer was arrested by a party of wood cutters before he could escape, but Thomas Cranmer escaped on Constable Herbert's horse. Sheriff Grimes watched Cranmer's family home near Valmont for several days but Thomas eluded capture. On July 17, 1869, James H. Cranmer was charged with assault with intent to kill Marshal Clark. Constable Herbert's horse was found on July 29th with the saddle showing some damage and a stirrup missing. It is unknown if Thomas escaped or succumbed to injuries possibly sustained in the shootout. It is not known if James was ever convicted or if Thomas was ever captured or found.

Marshal Clark was born January 11, 1834 in Maryland and moved to Black Hawk in 1860 to work as a miner. In 1863 he began working as a constable in Black Hawk. In 1864 Robert A. Clark was elected as Black Hawk's first City Marshal and was elected every year thereafter. He was survived by his young wife Lucinda and his step daughter Sophia Jenna Dougherty.


Sheriff Jaun C. Tafoya
Las Animas County

 

On February 6, 1872, three brothers with the last name of Wilson rode into Trinidad from Texas. During their stay in town one of the brothers ended up at the Exchange Saloon for some gambling and drinking. Thinking he had been cheated, he roared out of the saloon yelling that he would be back. While the Wilson brother was gone the barkeep sent for the Sheriff.

Sheriff Tafoya was waiting quietly when the cowboys returned with their guns drawn. Despite the saloon's offer to return the money, Wilson declared that someone was going to die. As Sheriff Tafoya moved forward to grab Wilson's gun, Wilson fired twice hitting Tafoya in the chest and the head. The Wilson's barreled out of town, but a posse was quickly formed. The posse gunned down two of the Wilson brothers in a running gunfight to the east of Trinidad near present day Beshoar Junction. Believing he would be spared, the other Wilson brother surrendered to the posse. After listening to his plea for mercy, the posse hanged the last Wilson brother from a cottonwood tree on Gray Creek Trail (now Gray Creek Road), as a warning to other would be scoundrels.

Sheriff Tafoya served as a deputy to Sheriff Juan Gutierrez during the Christmas Day War of 1867. He was elected Sheriff in 1870, left office later that year and was appointed Sheriff after the removal of the elected Sheriff in 1871 then reelected prior to his death.


 

Officer John Carville
Sergeant Lauriston Stewart
Leadville Police Department

 

On July 17, 1880, Officer Carville and another Leadville officer were summoned to a store on a report of a man brandishing a gun. The man, later identified as Charles Bakewell, moved to the back of the store as the officers entered. Suddenly, he fired one shot, wounding Officer Carville. The second officer (named Webb) pursued Bakewell out of the store and a running gun battle began. Sergeant Stewart (or Stuart) was at the Police Station, and hearing the commotion, left his office and began pursuing Bakewell. As Stewart was about to overtake Bakewell, the suspect drew a fresh revolver and fired three shots. All three shots struck the Sergeant.

 

Bakewell was quickly captured and taken to the Lake County Jail. Officer Carville died the next day. Sergeant Stewart died on July 22rd. Bakewell was tried, convicted and sent to prison, although he narrowly avoided being lynched by some of Leadville's outraged citizens.

Sources: The Daily Democrat; Leadville Research Cooperative.


 

 

Marshal D. G. "Clate" Ogsbury
City of Silverton

 

Marshal Ogsbury was shot and killed on the night of August 24, 1881, in front of the Diamond Saloon on Blair Street in Silverton. His killer was Burt Wilkinson, who was apparently a member of an outlaw gang and was wanted by the Sheriff in Durango. Wilkinson was later caught and lynched by some of Silverton's citizens.

 

Marshal Ogsbury was first buried in Silverton, but at the request of relatives, his body was reburied in his home state of New York. His name is incorrectly spelled on on the memorial as "Ogsburg".

Source: San Juan County Sheriff's Department.



Sheriff Edward N. Campbell
Hinsdale County

 

In the early morning of April 26, 1882, Sheriff Campbell was was on a stakeout at a vacant home in Lake City, along with Lake City Marshal Clair Smith. At 1:45am, George Betts and James Browning entered the house to commit a burglary and were surprised by the two officers. When Sheriff Campbell yelled for them to throw up their hands, the response was a .44 caliber bullet through his chest, causing almost instantaneous death.

 

Both Betts and Browning were captured within a few hours and taken to the county jail. In the early hours of April 27th, both men were forcibly removed from the jail by a large group of masked men. They were taken to the Ocean Wave Bridge in Lake City and lynched.

 

Sheriff Campbell was originally from Ohio and had served with the infantry during the Civil War.

Sources: Lake City Mining Register; Rocky Mountain News; Lake City Silver World; Hinsdale County Sheriff's Office.



Marshal George L. Smith
Town of Rico

 

Marshal Smith was attempting to arrest two subjects, who had been charged with stealing saddles, about 11:00 AM on Saturday, June 3, 1882. He had the warrants and was accompanied by Delores County Sheriff W. H. Dawson. The wanted subjects, Thomas Wall, 18, and Charlie Cummings (alias Trinidad Charlie), 23, were in a house in Rico and had just received word that the Marshal was looking for them. They were preparing to leave when the officers arrived and entered the house without knocking. Cummings did not like the way the officers entered, drew his gun and opened fire. Marshal Smith was shot in the leg, side and head. Wall and Cummings both then ran from Rico with Sheriff Dawson firing 5-6 rounds, all of which hit the dirt in front of the two thieves. Marshal Smith died within minutes from his wounds. Wall and Cummings took two animals from some packers just outside of town then a few minutes later stole a horse from a wagon to make their escape. 
A posse began the pursuit which ultimately led to their capture a week later by La Plata County Sheriff Watson and Deputy Bacon about 120 miles SE of Rico near the San Juan River on the Navajo reservation.   The prisoners were transported to Durango by Sheriff Watson who then went to Rico to collect the $1,500 reward offered for Wall and Cummings. Delores County Undersheriff Misch then travelled to Durango and brought the prisoners back to Rico. On Thursday, June 14th, Wall and Cummings were interviewed by the local newspaper where Trinidad Charlie admitted that he did the shooting and that Wall never had a gun in the house when Marshal Smith was shot. Late that night, or early Friday morning, a group of Rico citizens got past the four guards at the jail and took the prisoners out and hung (lynched) them in the stable behind the jail. Marshal George L. Smith was buried in the Valle Rico Cemetery on June 4, 1882. Newspaper accounts state that about 1000 people attended the funeral and “the largest procession ever seen in Rico” followed him to his final resting place.

 

 



Policeman John C. Phillips
Denver Police Department

 

In the early morning of July 16, 1889, Policeman John Phillips was walking his beat when he happened upon an apparent burglar. When Phillips asked the man's business, the suspect replied that he was "drawing water". Then, the suspect drew a revolver and fired a single shot at Phillips. The policeman fell to his knees, but was able to fire a few shots and get to a call box to call for help. Phillips died shortly after giving a description of the suspect.

 

John Phillips thus became Denver's first police officer to be killed in the line of duty. Although the newspapers called it "a murderous deed" and the public was outraged, the killer was never caught.


 

Mounted Policeman Charles F. Wanless
Denver Police Department

 

Policeman Charles Wanless was killed as he responded to a disturbance at a boarding house at 917 Broadway on September 18, 1890. Wanless had barely entered the premises at 9 o'clock when he was shot by Joseph Barnes. Barnes was drunk and had been threatening and arguing with his wife and mother.


 
Captain Charles A. Hawley
Denver Police Department

 

On January 15, 1891, Captain Hawley was talking outside the Windsor Hotel with Denver Policeman Norris, when Harley McCoy and P. E. Robinson approached the officers. Hawley made an apparent disparaging comment about McCoy. Robinson stopped and reached for a gun. Norris grappled with Robinson, who shot Norris once in the chest. McCoy then drew a gun and shot Hawley twice. Norris survived his wound, but Hawley died later in the hotel. McCoy was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Source: Code 109.



Special Officer Gustave Gisin
Denver Police Department

 

 

Officer Gustave Gisin, 60, was assigned to the Grant Smelter Neighborhood on January 23, 1893 when he was notified that Thomas Jordan, 27, was drunk, armed with a revolver and threatening employees of the Omaha & Grant Smelter and looking for the supervisor to “fill him full of lead”. Jordan, who had been fired about 6:00 AM that morning, exchanged angry words with the day foreman, and then spent most of the day at a saloon near 40th and Larimer. He returned to the smelter about 7 PM and started his hunt for the supervisor. Officer Gisin was advised and responded to try and talk with Jordan. 
Gisin was armed (with a revolver in his pocket) when he got to the door of the building that Jordan was standing in. As soon as Officer Gisin entered the building Jordan got the drop on Gisin and held him at gunpoint. Officer Gisin attempted to negotiate with Jordan but his efforts were not successful. Jordan shot Gisin from a distance of about 10 feet with the bullet striking him in the chest. After Gisin fell, Jordan ran outside where he was captured within a few minutes by responding Officers Izett and Ford. Gisin was transported to a nearby home where he died at 3:30 PM the next day with his family at his side. The bullet had entered his left lung and death was caused by internal hemorrhaging. Officer Gustave Gisin was born in Germany and had received his police commission on June 20, 1885. He was buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery.   Thomas Jordan (prison # 3268), was convicted of the murder of Officer Gisin and sentenced to be hanged. He was executed at 8:30 PM on May 11, 1895 at the Penitentiary in Canon City.
 


Detective Alpheus J. Moore
Denver Police Department

 

On March 20, 1895 Detective Al Moore was escorting three prisoners from their apartment to the jail. Moore was taking them to a call box when they all escaped. Moore followed one man (thought to have been Pat Crowe and later found to be Cyrus Eddinger) down Nineteenth. Moore fired two shots, the first a warning shot in the air and the second at the man. The man turned and fired several shots, one of which struck Moore in the groin, severed arteries and paralyzed his leg. Moore died the next day in the hospital. The assailant was never captured.

Source: Code 109.


 

Officer John Solomon
Trinidad Police Department

 

Shortly after midnight on Thursday, November 21, 1895, Officer John Solomon unexpectedly walked into a robbery taking place at the Horse Shoe Club, located immediately adjacent to the Columbian Hotel in Trinidad. Officer Solomon observed a man in the dark who pointed a gun at him and told him to put up his hands. Solomon refused and while struggling with the man, he was shot in the back by another man.


The three robbers fled the scene and Officer Solomon was found by the alley entrance of the hotel by a bartender at the club. Officer Solomon was carried into the Horse Shoe Club and survived for several hours before dying at 5:10 AM. He was able to give his dying statement to the deputy district attorney about ½ hour before he died. City Marshal W. M. Smith of Walsenburg was sent for and he arrived with his two bloodhounds on a special train less than five hours after the shooting. Within ten hours six people were in custody. The dogs tracked the horses, then two of the men after they left their horses, about eight miles southeast of Trinidad. Four men were arrested in the city. Further investigation revealed the three men who actually attempted the robbery were William Holt (the Stuttering Kid) 21; Deonicio Romero, 21; and Albert Noble, 35.

Holt was tied to the crime because he lost his gun when struggling with Officer Solomon and he had just purchased it locally a few days before. Holt confessed first, then Romero. Evidence indicated that Noble shot Solomon in the back from close range leaving a powder burn on Solomon's coat. The bullet struck a rib and traveled around the body internally and was found in his undershirt. The three robbers had just recently been released from jail where they became acquainted with two other prisoners and it is believed that the robbery of the gambling club was intended to help them in some way. Noble had previously served 5 years in Canon City (prisoner #2088) for robbery out of El Paso County (Nov. 1889 to Oct. 1894). A total of eight persons were arrested for this crime but five of them were held for being accessories. No disposition of the charges against the five accessories has been found.

All three men were convicted of the murder of Officer Solomon and sentenced to death. They were hung on June 26, 1896 at Canon City in the first ever 'triple hanging' held in Colorado. The hangings were held in alphabetical order with Holt (#3975) meeting his fate at 8:15PM, Noble (#3973) at 8:45PM and Romero (#3976) at 9:10PM.

Officer John Solomon had served as an officer for 12 years and was survived by his wife and 4 children. The funeral was on Sunday, November 24th and was one of the largest ever held in Trinidad. The ceremony was conducted by the Knights of Pythias and the Ancient Order of United Workmen which both counted him as a member of their respective orders. At least 250 members of the two groups marched in the procession to the Masonic cemetery along with the city band and a large concourse of friends.




Special Officer Wendell P. Smith
Denver Police Department

 

 

Special Officer Wendell Smith, 28, was working a beat on east Colfax, with Special Officer Calvin Rowland, when they found a man crouching near the back door behind the Hathaway Grocery at 2404 E. Colfax about 8:30 PM. The man angrily stated he had business there and straightened up, then said he had to get his coat from the coal shed. The suspect put on his coat then immediately put his hand in the coat pocket, drew his gun and started firing at the officers. Rowland was hit first then Smith was hit in the right elbow then the right side of his chest took the third round. The suspect fled towards City Park with Officer Smith in pursuit but Smith collapsed in front of the grocery store. Smith was carried to Richard’s Drug store at 14th and High St. where police Surgeon Jarecki responded. Smith was then transported to the county hospital where he died at 10:45 PM. Office Rowland was just “scratched” by the bullet that hit him and the investigating officers accused him of cowardice for running away after the shooting. Rowland claimed to have been unarmed but the doctor that treated his injury stated that Rowland took a .41 caliber revolver out of his pocket when came in for care. Another grocery had been burglarized that night and burglary tools were found at the scene. The murderer of Officer Smith was never caught.
Officer Smith was commissioned two years earlier and had worked as a regular officer and a special officer at the rail yards, and was apparently going to take the place of Rowland on the Colfax beat when he was killed. Services were held at Uzzell’s Tabernacle and he was buried at Fairmount Cemetery. He was survived by his wife and a brother from Lead, SD.
 

 


Deputy R. B. Williams
Gilpin County

 

On April 16, 1896, Gilpin County Sheriff Kehler deputized R. B. Williams to help him apprehend a suspect named Covington, who had threatened to kill the Judge. When they contacted him, Covington shot both Kehler and Williams. Kehler survived, but Williams died three days later, April 19, 1896.

Source: Gilpin County Sheriff's Office.


 

Deputy William Green
Deputy William Kelly
Las Animas County Sheriff's Office

 

Deputies William Green and William Kelly left Trinidad for the area of San Isidro in the mountains SE of Trinidad, on April 20, 1896. They had an arrest warrant for Miguel Reville, the reported leader of a gang of cattle thieves operating in that area. Deputy Green had a reputation as a man with nerve and was willing to go after Reville. The deputies were due back in Trinidad about April 26th. Deputies Green and Kelly were last seen at Barela Station where they told people that they were going after cattle thieves. When they didn't return it was at first assumed that they were on the trail but within a few days a posse was sent out to search for the deputies but no trace was found. A report was also received that two bodies were found near San Isidro but the posse was unable to find the bodies or any other evidence.

Deputy Green's brothers, John and Ely, came up from Las Vegas, NM Territory and searched for over a year. Their efforts paid off in 1897 when they received information from a citizen in Raton that implicated Macedonio Archuleta as having knowledge about the deputies murder. Archuleta was arrested and held in secret and finally confessed. He stated that the deputies were ambushed by four men near San Isidro. He identified them as Nestor Martinez, Moses Frayter, Juan Duran and Antonio Reville. Archuleta also stated that the bodies were buried for three days, then dug up and burned to conceal the crime. Only a few charred bones were ever recovered. Additional arrests made from Archuleta's confession were Dave Hodges, Rupeito Archuleta, Juan Pacheco, Lucia Duran and Lucia Archuleta. The two women even testified at the trial recounting statements from the men that ambushed the deputies.

One additional motive for the slaying of the deputies, other than cattle rustling, was that deputy Green had a few weeks previously arrested Pedro Baca and Leandro Martinez for a murder they had committed in Starkville. Baca and Martinez both received sentences of 40 year to life. Their friends had vowed revenge against Deputy Green for this and it apparently was a factor in the ambush. Ultimately five of these suspects were convicted of murder in the deaths of Deputies Green and Kelly. Rupeito Archuleta, 67, (prisoner #4364), Moses Frayter, 34, (#4365), Juan Duran, 51, (#4366), Juan Pacheco, 41, (#4383) and Nestor Martinez, 30, (#4408) were all convicted of murder and sentenced to prison. Archuleta and Pacheco died in prison in 1899 and 1901 respectively. Fraytor was paroled in 1913 and Duran was paroled in 1911. Martinez was pardoned in 1899.

Miguel Reville was actually killed by others in the gang on April 17, 1896, according to Macedonio Archuleta. This would have been three days before the deputies started out to arrest him. Miguel Reville was also reported to have been killed by a Texas Ranger near Childers, TX on November 7, 1896. The ranger may have actually killed Antonio Reville as no record of him after this date has been found.


 

Sheriff Edward Farr
Huerfano County

 

On the morning of July 16, 1899, Huerfano County Sheriff Edward Farr joined a posse in the New Mexico Territory town of Cimarron. The posse was searching for the famous Sam Ketchum Gang that had been robbing banks, trains and postal units in New Mexico and Arizona for many years. Their latest escapade had been the robbery of a Colorado & Southern train on July 11th, just south of Folsom, in the New Mexico Territory.

 

That evening, the posse caught up with a remnant of the gang, consisting of Sam Ketchum, G. W. Franks (alias Will Carver) and Elza Lay (alias William McGinnis). During the attack on the camp, Sheriff Farr was shot three times and died within minutes.

 

Ketchum was later arrested and hung on April 26, 1901 in New Mexico for train robbery. Lay escaped but was arrested on August 16th, tried, convicted of Farr's death and sentenced to life imprisonment. Franks was never caught. Ironically, Lay was pardoned by New Mexico Governor Otero on January 10, 1906.

 

Sheriff Farr was one of southern Colorado's largest ranchers and was eulogized as "a man of generous impulses and un-yielding courage". Also killed in the gun battle was New Mexico Deputy Sheriff M. Love.


  

Policeman Thomas C. Clifford
Policeman William E. Griffiths
Denver Police Department

 

On August 13, 1899, three soldiers from the 34th Infantry at Fort Logan were drinking and acting boisterously at Klipfel's Saloon in downtown Denver, so they were ordered out. As the trio left the saloon, they were confronted near 20th and Blake by Policeman Thomas Clifford. When Clifford demanded that the men relinquish their weapons, one of the soldiers, Wellington Llewellyn, drew his weapon and shot and killed Clifford.

 

Llewellyn then fled toward the 16th Street Bridge, with other officers in foot pursuit. Policeman William Griffiths chased Llewellyn under the bridge, where he was also shot and killed. Although Llewellyn escaped, he was identified by the other two soldiers and for a while, the Denver Police stopped every soldier walking the streets. This led to bad feelings between the police and the Army, so the search was eventually abandoned.

 

Lewellyn was never caught, and an unconfirmed report in 1912 had him leading a group of bandits in the Philippines.



Captain William Bohanna
Police Surgeon Frank Dulin
Denver Police Department

 

On Sunday, March 12, 1905, George Shissler decided he'd had enough of his neighbor, Key Sill. The two had had a property dispute since 1902, and Shissler was about to end it. He sent his wife and children off to church and then took his shotgun and walked over to Sill's home. After a heated verbal exchange, Sill began to run and Shissler shot and killed him. Shissler then shot at Mrs. Sill through a window and killed her as she tried to escape. He also tried to kill Sill's daughters but they got away.

 

As an ambulance carrying Captain William Bohanna and Police Surgeon Frank Dulin arrived on the scene at East 39th Avenue and Adams Street, Shissler opened fire, striking them both. Dozens of patrolmen, deputies and armed citizens then surrounded the house, and after 2 hours and a reported 400-500 rounds of ammunition had been fired, authorities entered the house and found Shissler dead. Two days later, Doctor Dulin died from his wounds, and the following day, Captain Bohanna succumbed.

 

Never in the young history of Denver had such an event taken place, and the newspapers labeled Shissler a "maniac".


 

Sheriff William J. Thompson
La Plata County

 

William (Big Bill) Thompson stood 6' 4" tall and weighed 280 pounds, but that didn't help him when he got into a gun battle with Jesse Stansel, the Town Marshal of Durango. Thompson had been appointed La Plata County Sheriff in 1898, and on January 9, 1906, he began to close down Durango's gambling halls under orders from the Governor. Marshal Stansel objected, and the two got into an argument at the El Mano Saloon. The argument moved out onto the sidewalk, where the two men emptied their guns at each other.

 

After the smoke cleared, both men were taken to Mercy Hospital, where Sheriff Thompson died from four bullet wounds. Marshal Stansel sustained one bullet wound to the chest and survived. After it was discovered that one of Thompson's wounds was to his back, Marshal Stansel was arrested for murder.

 

Before the trial could take place, Sheriff Thompson's clothing, which was vital evidence to prove the murder charge, was burned by the undertaker. As a result, Stensel was acquitted by the jury. Soon after, he moved to Texas.


 

Policeman John Spellman
Denver Police Department

 

On June 18, 1906, Policeman John Spellman was attempting to arrest three men because they were loud and drunk. Spellman gave them a warning, and then approached them to place them under arrest. One of the men, thought to be George Turner, opened fire. Spellman was shot twice, once under the left nipple and again through the heart. He died almost instantly.

 

Source: Code 109.



Special Agent Joseph A. Walker
United States Secret Service

 

Joseph Walker became the first Special Agent in Charge of the Denver office of the U. S. Secret Service. His territory included Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona.

 

On November 3, 1906, Walker was investigating a case of land fraud with another Secret Service agent and two Interior Department engineers. While the other three men were down inside a mine shaft, Walker was shot in the back with a rifle. Two suspects were arrested and tried for the murder, but were found not guilty by a jury that feared reprisals.

Source: U. S. Secret Service.


 

Policeman William H. Beck
Denver Police Department

 

Between 3:15 and 3:30am on May 2, 1908, Policeman William Beck was checking a photo supply store at 423 Sixteenth St., owned by E. O. Van Brandt. Beck found the rear door unlocked, so he entered the store to leave the owner a explanatory note. Beck turned and apparently encountered a burglar who fired at him and killed him instantly. The burglar fled and was never apprehended. The exact details of the murder of Policeman Beck are still unknown.

Source: Code 109.


 

Policeman William P. Stephens
Denver Police Department

 

On August 25, 1908, Policeman William Stephens responded to a possible burglary and confronted a man on a horse with another horse in tow. Words were exchanged, and the horseman pulled his gun and shot Stephens. The horseman then made his way east toward Sullivan, where he sold one of the horses. The buyer later discovered a bullet in the horse and contacted the police. The police arrested John Bradley, a known horse thief. Bradley was put in prison, where he died in 1930.

Source: Code 109.



Officer Alexander Brighton
Trinidad Police Department

 

January 20, 1909 - Officer Alexandar Brighton (Trinidad) responded to a Domestic dispute at a bordello in Trinidad. Officer Brighton arrested Joe Enquine (AKA Guiseppe di Ciocotto). Enquine submitted passively and asked permission to get his hat. He stepped into another room and returned seconds later with a 38 caliber revolver and shot his wife and Officer Brighton.

 

Officer Brighton returned fire and hit Enquine killing him. Officer Alexandar Brighton died two days later. He was 41-years-old and survived by his wife and four children. The youngest being born just two hours before his death.


 

Marshal John M. Rennix
Town of New Castle

 

When New Castle Town Marshal Bill Griffith was dismissed and jailed for selling liquor to unauthorized persons, he swore revenge on his replacement, John Rennix. True to his word, he shot Rennix from a second floor hotel room as Rennix was crossing the street on November 25, 1910.

 

Griffith then killed one man and wounded another in a gun battle that expended an estimated 250 rounds. After the battle ended, Griffith was found dead, though it is unknown whether he died from outside fire or he committed suicide.

Source: Garfield County Sheriff's Office.


 

Chief Marshal Jesse B. Craig
Night Marshal Jacob A. Kipper
Rocky Ford Police Department

 

Chief Marshal Jesse B Craig Sr. and Night Marshal Jacob A. Kipper (Rocky Ford) were killed when they responded to a domestic dispute in Rocky Ford. The two officers had just returned from La Junta on the train while transporting a prisoner. They went to the Harris residence and found Bob Harris had been drinking and quarreling with his wife and his parents.

 

Bob Harris had been in trouble before and was known to the Marshal's. When they attempted to arrest him, a fight broke out and Harris' father, mother and wife all assisted in fighting the two Marshals'. Bob Harris ran to another room and grabbed a 44 caliber revolver and returned to the fight shooting Marshal Craig and then Marshal Kipper. Both officers staggered out of the house and collapsed in the front yard. Bob Harris ran off but was captured two days later.

 

Marshal Craig died on the front sidewalk. He was 59-years-old and was beginning his second term as Chief. He was survived by his wife and two children.

 

Marshal Kipper died 14 days later at Denver's St Joseph's Hospital. He was survived by his wife and two sons.

 

Robert Harris (Prisoner #8180) was convicted of Murder in the First Degree and sentenced to death. Later his sentence was commuted to life in prison. He died in the Colorado State Penitentiary on December 30, 1926.


 

Policeman William McPherson
Denver Police Department


On March 9, 1912, Policeman McPherson was in the Loyd saloon in the Valverde district, when two masked men entered the saloon and opened fire on McPherson and the bar keeper, Andrew J. Loyd. McPherson was shot four times, but was able to return fire at the two assailants. McPherson was transported to the county hospital and identified two suspects as William Tullis and Sam Rizer, who had been arrested by McPherson a month earlier. Tullis and Rizer claimed they were innocent, and a question arose as to whether they were the assailants. There was a trail of blood that exited the saloon, yet neither Tullis nor Rizer had been shot.

 

A man named Oscar Cook, who had been transported to St. Joseph's hospital with an unexplained gunshot wound in his side, was questioned by police. Cook identified Edward Seiwald as his accomplice, and after Seiwald was arrested, he confessed to the shootings of McPherson and Loyd.

 

Both McPherson and Loyd succumbed to their wounds. Policeman McPherson died at 8:35am, March 11, 1912.

Source: Code 109.


 

Marshal Charles P. Eyser
City of Ft. Morgan

 

Charles Eyser had been the night marshal in Ft. Morgan for the past four years. On September 30, 1916, he stopped by the Manhattan Cafe and Rooming House as part of a bootlegging investigation. At the head of a stairway, he approached John Swan and a companion, both subjects of the investigation. When he advised them that he would have to search them and their hotel room, Swan pulled out a gun and shot Eyser just below the heart. Eyser was able to return fire and wound Swan before he collapsed.

 

Mrs. Godfrey Weimer was also killed in her hotel room by a stray bullet from Swan's gun. Swan was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in the State Penitentiary, but he escaped from the Morgan County Jail in 1917.

Sources: Ft. Morgan Police Department; Ft. Morgan Times.



Policeman Luther McMahill
Denver Police Department

 

At 3:30am on September 14, 1918, Policeman Luther McMahill called in his last report and was riding his bicycle home, when he encountered a band of robbers on Colorado near 16th. When McMahill pointed his flashlight at one of the men who was in a car, the man drew a weapon and shot McMahill directly above the heart, killing him almost instantly. The car then started toward 17th and picked up another man who was running on foot.

 

The killers of Policeman McMahill may have been the same criminals who had killed Chief of Detectives John Rowan of the Colorado Springs Police Department only one day earlier. The identities of the killers are still unknown.

Source: Code 109.



Policeman Emerson L. McKinnon
Denver Police Department

 

On May 14, 1919, Policeman Emerson McKinnon had responded to a fire at the city shops. He was helping two firemen with a hose line, and as they advanced into the smoke-filled city shops, McKinnon fell through an opening in an elevator shaft. He landed on a cement floor twenty feet below, causing a fracture of his skull and a double fracture of his spinal column.

 

At the county hospital, surgery was performed, but the injuries were too severe and McKinnon died six days later.

Source: Code 109.



Detective George C. Klein
Denver Police Department

 

Detective George Klein was the head of the bootleg squad, and on June 9, 1919 he led a raid on a bootleg ring near West 40th and Pecos. During the raid, he accidentally shot and killed a 24 year old man when he stumbled and his weapon discharged. The Italian community was outraged. Klein was tried and released on bail. He returned to work, but in the early morning of August 20, 1919, he was ambushed in front of his house. He was taken to the county hospital with nine bullet wounds, but he only survived for a short time.

 

No one was ever apprehended for the murder of Detective Klein, but reports indicate that it was bootleg related. Klein's murder is considered to be the first bootleg killing in the United States.

Source: Code 109.



Policeman James E. Boggio
Denver Police Department

 

On January 6, 1920, a team of four Denver Police officers was searching a residence on West 46th Street for Adrian P. Thompson, who was wanted in Adams County for tools theft. The team consisted of Policemen James Boggio and D. Chuven, along with Detective G. Schneider and Sergeant J. M. Barry.

 

Boggio, Chuven and Barry had left the house, when Schneider called for them to return. Chuven entered the kitchen and was attacked by Thompson's mother, who beat him with a fireplace bar. Boggio followed Chuven into the kitchen and was shot three times by Thompson, who was hiding in a stairwell. Barry and Schneider returned Thompson's fire, killing him, but receiving wounds in the process.

 

Boggio died of his wounds at County Hospital on January 8th. At 25, he was the youngest member of the Denver Police Department.


 

Chief L. P. Bass
Boulder Police Department

 

Lawrence (L. P.) Bass was Boulder's first Chief of Police, and the first Boulder police officer to die in the line of duty. On March 18, 1920, Bass and five other people were responding to a fire in Boulder's first police car, a two-day old Buick. Among those in the car were Boulder County Under sheriff William Stretcher and 16-year old Joe D. Salter At the corner of 19th and Pearl, the police car collided with the city's first fire truck. Bass, Stretcher and Salter died as a result of the accident.


 

Special Officer Roy O. Downing
Denver Police Department

 

Special Officer Roy Downing, 23, was shot and killed when he interrupted a burglary in progress at a home at 2308 Bellaire Street about 3 AM on December 1, 1920. Officer Downing was on foot patrol in this Park Hill Neighborhood when he observed an open coal chute window at the house of S. J. Sullivan. Downing knew the occupants of the home so he came near the back door and called out twice for Mr. Sullivan. In less than a minute several shots rang out and Officer Downing crumpled to the ground with one bullet in his chest and one in the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The burglar escaped. Officer Downing was armed with “an old style Colt’s .38-.40 with single action,” which he never had a chance to use. 
The killer of Officer Downing was escaped but later investigation linked this case to an organized gang of robbers that operated in Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas and Minnesota. Several members of this gang were arrested in April of 1921 and charged with the $23,000.00 robbery of the Union Stockyards bank messengers. The same gang may have been responsible for the April 8, 1921 death of Fountain Police Officer John Lindamood.
Officer Roy Olden Downing was born on November, 22, 1897 and lived at 1674 St. Paul St. He had been employed as a Special Officer for over a year and was wearing ‘Police Star #526’ at the time of his death. He was buried at Crown Hill Cemetery and survived by his wife, Oradine.



Deputy William O. Steam
Denver Police Department

 

Special Officer William O. Steam was shot and killed at 8:20PM on Friday, February 18th, 1921 by Keil O'Neill (aka Lee Williams). The shooting took place at the Negro dance hall at 2128 Arapahoe Street. Officer Steam had, just the previous week, been part of a group of Denver officers that broke up a dance organized by O'Neill. O'Neill's request for a license (or permit) to hold the dance at 21st and Blake had been refused but O'Neill held it anyway until Denver PD closed it down. O'Neill blamed Steam for this action and stated that he lost a lot of money because the dance hall was shut down.

Officer Steam was a black officer assigned to that part of town. At the time of the shooting he was in uniform and wearing his gun while playing a game of cards in the dance hall. O'Neill had made threats against Officer Steam the previous day and entered the dance hall that evening to carry out his threat. O'Neill is quoted as saying “Steam, I've come to get you”. As Steam turned in his chair to see who was speaking, a bullet struck him in the back just below the right shoulder then as he fell to the floor he was shot in the head just above the right ear killing him instantly. O'Neill then fled the place and ran down Arapahoe Street. A police surgeon and several squads of officers responded to the dance hall. Twenty officers were assigned to search for O'Neill on Saturday and he was captured without incident at a rooming house at 2341 Blake Street about 3PM.
O'Neill confessed to shooting Officer Steam and said it was because of the dance being closed down the previous Saturday and because “Steam had been riding him” and told him to get out of town. It was reported that O'Neill (aka Williams) was an ex-con that had been serving time in Huntsville, TX when he escaped in 1914. Another story is that O'Neill was afraid that Steam would arrest him for that warrant.

Steam had been connected with police headquarters for a number of years and because of his wide acquaintance in the negro section of the city frequently was assigned to bring in some member of his race sought by the police. The Denver police chief stated that Officer Steam's record with the department was enviable. “He was one of the most dependable and efficient men connected with the department. He occupied a place on the force that was unique and getting another man to fill it in the manner which Steam did, will be hard,” the chief said. Several years earlier Steam had been shot and wounded by a man named Berry, “a colored desperado”, while Steam was attempting to arrest him.

The Denver city council voted to approve $125.00 to pay for the funeral of Officer Steam, upon request of Mayor Bailey. Steam also served as a custodian/night watchman at city hall. His duties, reflective of the segregation of the times, was assignment to a beat which primarily included the black dance hall saloons, and other businesses which were primarily frequented by black patrons. His duties at City Hall would be to secure the building, monitor the old coal heated boilers for heating, as well as watch for fires or gas leaks, from lamps and other early 20th century appliances.

Special Officer William O. Steam is listed as far back as 1910 in the handwritten records as a police officer. He also served in WWI. He is listed in newspaper accounts as being 48 years old having been born on October 28, 1873. However his draft records from WWI show his birth year as 1875. His funeral was held on February 23, 1921 with burial at Riverside Cemetery. He was survived by his wife Mamie. Keil O'Neill, age 39, (prisoner # 11469) was convicted of Murder and sentenced to life in prison. He was released on parole December 17, 1935 when his sentence was commuted by Gov Johnson. O'Neill died in Las Vegas, Nevada, from a heart attack, on April 10, 1959.




Policeman Forrest Ross
Policeman Clarence E. Zeitz
Denver Police Department

 

April 2, 1921 was surely one of the worst days in the history of the Denver Police Department. Within a few minutes on that date, two officers received fatal injuries and 15 other people were injured in two separate, but disturbingly similar accidents.

 

Policeman Forrest Ross was responding in a police "riot car" to a reported holdup at 13th and Broadway. As he attempted to turn onto Bannock from 14th, he swerved to avoid traffic, struck a curb, rolled the car three times and came to rest against a telephone pole.

 

A few minutes later, another "riot car" was responding to Ross's accident, using lights and siren. Inside the car were Policeman Clarence Zeitz, Policeman Sales (who was driving) and three newspaper reporters in the back seat. At 14th and Tremont, the police car collided with a touring car, rolled over and came to rest on its top.

 

In the first accident, Ross and two other policemen were injured and taken to area hospitals. Ross died two days later at St. Anthony's Hospital. In the second accident, Policeman Zeitz was killed instantly, and thirteen other people (including several pedestrians) were injured in the collision.

Source: Code 109.


 

Policeman Arthur J. Pinkerton
Denver Police Department

 

Policeman Arthur Pinkerton was found unconscious near a fallen arc light at 37th and Marion. He was taken to Denver County Hospital, suffering from electrical shock, but died the morning of May 31, 1921 with out regaining consciousness. It is presumed that he tried to move the arc light out of the way of passing pedestrians.

Source: Code 109



Policeman Richie Rose
Denver Police Department

 

On October 31, 1922, Policeman Richie Rose stopped at his house between 1:30 and 2:00am to have breakfast with his wife. He said his goodbyes and headed toward the call box at 41st and Lipan, just northwest of his home. After he walked through a vacant lot and crossed 38th, Rose saw a darkened car parked in the middle of the street. As he approached the car, several shots rang out from the vehicle. Rose ran behind a power pole near the alley and returned fire at the car. From behind some railroad ties in the alley, two other men shot at Rose, hitting him. As he lay unconscious, the unknown assailants took Rose's gun and fired all of the bullets into his body. Rose was then carried to a tavern at 38th and Lipan. Police and an ambulance responded 1½ hours later, but by then he had died. His last words were, "Mafia, Mafia, Mafia".

The killers are unknown, but it was suspected that Rose was ambushed by bootleggers.

Source: Code 109



Patrolman Elmer E. Cobb
Boulder Police Department

 

At 5:30 AM on November 19, 1923, Patrolman Elmer Cobb left his home to begin his 6:00 shift at Police Headquarters, just six blocks away. Cobb never made it to work, that day. He was murdered behind a billboard at Ninth and Pearl Streets by an unknown assailant. The assailant struck Cobb on the head and then shot him in the head, execution style.

 

The investigation of Cobb's murder was clouded by Prohibition, payoffs and the city politics of the day; the crime was never solved.



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