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SPD Home / In Memoriam / 1800s

Line of duty deaths 1800s

DAVID SIRES - End of Watch: October 16, 1881

Commission Date: Unknown
Rank: Patrol Officer

In 1881, Seattle's population was 3,553. On October 16, 1881, Seattle Police Officer David Sires was shot and killed in the line of duty. He was the first Seattle Police Officer killed in the line of duty. "David Sires died Saturday. After being shot he was insensible for a time but revived and was able to make a statement in regard to the shooting and identify his murderer as Benjamin Payne. Payne is described as a worthless loafer and desperado. Mr. Sires has led a checkered life and was known all over the northern coast as a happy, open hearted type that attached to him many friends. His murder has roused a feeling of deep indignation in Seattle, where he was a popular man and officer, and unless his slayer meets his justice at the hands of the law, the people may take the law into their own hands."


JAMES WELLS - End of Watch: November 28, 1897

Commission Date: 1895
Rank: Detective

On November 28, 1897, around 8:55 p.m., Seattle Police Officer James Wells was shot and killed in the line of duty. Officer Wells was transporting a suspect from Washington and Occidental Streets to Police Headquarters in a horse-drawn patrol wagon. When they arrived, the suspect produced a handgun and shot Wells once in the chest. Wells fell to the ground. The suspect shot at the wagon driver, Officer John Weedin, but missed. Officer Wells got to his feet, and fired at the fleeing suspect. The suspect fired again at Officer Wells, but missed. Officer Wells collapsed in the street. The suspect fled and was later captured hiding under a house near 4th Ave. S. and Main St. Officer James Wells died at the scene from a single gunshot wound. Officer Wells was un-married. He was survived by his parents and siblings. Prior to joining the Seattle Police Department, Officer Wells had been a King County Deputy Sheriff for six years.


THOMAS L. ROBERTS - End of Watch: April 10, 1898
Thomas Roberts

Commission Date: March 18, 1898
Rank: Patrol Officer

On Easter Sunday, April 10, 1898, Officer Thomas Roberts was walking his beat alone. Around 2:15 a.m., he met Officer George E. Deigh at 18th Ave. and Jefferson St. Officer Deigh walked an adjacent beat. The officers first heard, and then saw, two men walking south on 18th Ave. on the east side of the street. They stopped the two men. Officer Deigh began to question them. The shorter of the two men pulled a .44 caliber pistol from his pocket and shot Officer Roberts twice, once in the abdomen and once in the leg. The second suspect ran away immediately. Officer Deigh exchanged shots with the shooter until both their weapons were empty. Officer Deigh was shot in the wrist. The shooter fled the scene. Officer Roberts died at the scene. He was survived by his pregnant wife, Orpha, and his children, Lydia, Jesse, and Hannah.


 
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