August 25, 1920, Patrolmen Frank S. Hallet, Joseph La Croix, and S.J.
Lee, all members of the third precinct shotgun squad, were in their
patrol car and on their regular nightly tour of inspection looking for
burglars and highwaymen.
Patrolman La Croix was
at the wheel as they were driving toward the river on Franklin Avenue.
Near Thirty-second Avenue South they observed a small touring car being
driven in the opposite direction at high speed toward the city. The
policemen threw their searchlight into the car and could see the four
men occupants plainly.
When the squad members reached
the bridge they turned back. The other car had not increased its pace
and they soon overtook it. As they passed, the searchlight was again
used and another view of the interior of the car was obtained. The two
men in the back seat were seen to pull their coat collars up, but they
did not duck their heads. The squad car fell behind again and the
officers consulted one another.
suggested they might be moonshiners and it was decided to halt them.
Both cars passed Twenty-seventh Avenue and Patrolman La Croix increased
his speed with the intention of crowding the other car to the curb on
the farthest side of Twenty-sixth Avenue. But instead of crossing, the
other car turned north into Twenty-sixth Avenue.
Hallet jumped out before the police car stopped and took a few steps
toward the other automobile which was moving slowly, although Hallet
had called upon the driver to halt. Patrolman Hallet, with Patrolman
Lee behind him, approached the other car, passing behind it.
Hallet came alongside the strange car, and before he had time to ask a
question, one of the men in the back seat opened fire, three bullets
taking effect in the policeman’s head. Before Patrolman Lee, who ducked
behind the machine as Hallet fell, could draw his pistol, the driver of
the bandit car threw on the power and speeded toward Twenty-fifty
Avenue on Franklin.
Unprepared for such an event,
Patrolman Lee retrieved his sawed off shotgun and sent a volley of
buckshot after the rapidly disappearing car, but it was already nearly
a block away, with the other driving turning out his lights.
waiting to pick up Patrolman Hallet’s body, the two policeman started
pursuit, firing from their sawed off shotguns as they drove, but their
car was soon outdistanced. The chase ended when the quarry finally
disappeared in Riverside Park. The officers were unable to tell if
anyone in the touring car was hit.
Hurrying to the
nearest patrolbox, a call was sent to headquarters and the General
hospital. The ambulance took Hallet’s body to the morgue.
John J. Galvin, acting chief, ordered the precinct shotgun squads out
and, reinforced by several automobiles filled with detectives, a
systematic search for the gunmen was begun, but no trace of them could
Neither Patrolman Lee nor La Croix obtained
the license number, but they gave a fair description of the occupants.
The one who did the shooting, they said, was about 35 years old,
weighed probably 190 pounds, was light complexioned, pale, smooth
shaven, wore a light shirt, soft collar, gray suit and a dark fedora
hat. The man beside him in the back seat was about 30 years old, 150
pounds, dark, with several days growth of beard. He wore a top coat and
no collar. The driver, they said, wore a dark shirt and a fedora hat
and the fourth man wore a cap.
Captain Galvin added
that he had given orders to all members of the shotgun squads that when
one of their members approaches a strange car or other suspicious
object, for the others to “cover it” with their riot guns so as to
prevent a repetition of this tragedy.
after the shooting, police found the car used by the bandits abandoned
at Twelfth Avenue South and Ninth Street. It had no bullet holes in it,
but police believed it was the car because it had a license number in
front and two others in the back seat, all different, indicating that
it was a stolen car. The owner had not been found.
J.E. Meyers announced that he would offer a reward for the capture of
any or all of the gunmen who shot and killed Patrolman Hallet. But in
spite of the police department throwing its full force into the search
for the patrolman’s murderers, they were never apprehended.
later obtained by the police led to the conclusion that the four men
were whiskey smugglers and that they shot down Hallet rather than have
their car, which was reported to have been filled with illegal whiskey,
searched and evidence of their illicit trade discovered.
Hallet was 45 years old. He lived at 1092 Fourteenth Avenue SE and was
survived by his wife and two children. He joined the police force 11
years earlier and was assigned to the second precinct station, was
later transferred to central station and finally to the third precinct.
The killing of Hallet was identical in nearly all details to the slaying of Patrolman John F. Young on July 13, 1919.
bullet that killed Patrolman Hallet was 32 caliber, steel jacketed, and
it was found at a postmortem examination conducted at the morgue. It
was lodged in the brain.
Funeral services for Hallet
were conducted at the family home and at the First Methodist Church,
Fifth Street and Ninth Avenue SE. Six of Hallet’s comrades were
pallbearers and an escort of 100 policeman headed by the police band,
escorted the body to Hillside cemetery where interment took place on
August 28, 1920.
A fund was started at the Midland
National Bank for the family of Patrolman Hallet. Contributions passed
the $300.00 mark. The money collected was to be used to pay off a
mortgage of $1,500.00 on the Hallet family home and otherwise aid the