McLennan County Peace Officer's Memorial--May 16, 2013
Those Who Gave All
Waco resident and Senior Trooper, Texas Department of Public Safety,
who died in the line of duty on May 9, 2001.
who died in the line of duty on May 9, 2001.
Waco Police Department Line of Duty Deaths
Marshal Laban John Hoffman DOD: Friday, January 6, 1871
Laban John Hoffman was born around 1840 in North Carolina. He was married to Virginia who was born about 1845. They had two
children, Ephriam, born about 1862 and Beulah born about 1869. Hoffman served in the Confederate army from at least August 1862 until August 1863. He served as a private in the Texas State Police in 1870 until he became the City Marshal of Waco in September 1870. His place of burial has not been
The Texas State Police were created by the Texas Legislature in between 1870-1873 during Reconstruction when the “carpetbaggers” controlled the state government. L. J. Hoffman had been a private in the Texas State Police in 1870 and was assigned to McLennan-Hill county area. He resigned on September 5, 1870 when he qualified as the City Marshal of Waco.
Around noon on Friday, January 6, 1871, Waco City Marshal L. J. Hoffman was in a barber shop on the southwest corner of the Square and Second Street getting a shave. An unidentified man rode up on horseback, dismounted and entered the barber shop from the rear. He examined the lathered face of the marshal to make sure it was Hoffman. He walked behind the barber chair and shot the marshal in the back of head, killing him instantly. The man remounted and fired two shots at approaching policemen. As the man galloped to the bridge, he tossed the toll collector a dollar and said, “Haven’t time to wait for the change,” and sped away.
Texas Governor Edmund J. Davis posted a $1,000 reward for the delivery of the body dead or alive of the murderer of Hoffman to the sheriff of McLennan County. The Galveston newspaper reported that the Waxahachie Democrat on June 24, 1871 reported that George Williams or Wild George was killed by the state police. A letter dated July 24, 1871 from Adjutant General James Davidson to Mrs. Hoffman stated, “…in reply to your letter of July 7, 1871…Wild George was shot by state police and is supposedly mortally wounded…however he escaped.” Another document identified the killer as George Thomason, alias Wild George. A letter dated April 21, 1871 from James Davidson to Mrs. Virginia A. Hoffman stated, “you can make an affidavit against Brack Mitchell as the party who committed this murder…and I will arrest him.”
Officer Alpheus D. Neill DOD: Tuesday, February 6, 1877
Officer Neill was shot and killed when he responded to a disturbance where a man was threatening to kill his wife and her father. As Officer Neill came onto the property the suspect shot him. Officer Neill had been with the agency for one year and was survived by his wife and three children.
Officer William D. Mitchell DOD: Saturday, October 27, 1900
Officer William Davis Mitchell was confirmed as a mounted police officer by Mayor J. W. Riggins for the City of Waco on April 9, 1900.
A call came in to City Hall about a disturbance at Puss Hannah’s Chili Parlor on N. 6th Street near Austin Avenue. Officer Mitchell had apparently just gotten off duty but volunteered to go on the call. Officer Mitchell galloped to the scene on his horse.
As he arrived at the scene, Will King exited the parlor with a gun in his hand. King shot Mitchell as Mitchell dismounted. Although Mitchell then returned fire from his revolver, he had been fatally shot by King. With his wife and 3 daughters at his side, William Mitchell died at 9:00 p.m. that evening. He was buried in Oakwood Cemetery. Will King was arrested a short time later and was executed one year later.
Sergeant Charles May Gantz DOD: Wednesday, August 8, 1923 (16:00)
Desk Sgt. C.M. Gantz was on duty and received information concerning an alleged cache of illicit liquor, located on N. 3rd Street, a short distance north of Washington Avenue. Sgt. Gantz left a written note at the PD detailing where he and several other officers would be, attempting to locate the illicit liquor.
The location was an abandoned cistern with a dry bottom at the rear of a building. Although other officers with him urged him not go into the well, Sgt. Gantz told them he felt it was a matter of duty that he investigate. He was lowered into the 20’ well with a rope, by Officers Lee Jenkins, C.E. Ware and Frank Tennison, and that was the last time he would ever be seen alive.
Sgt. Gantz was overcome in the“gas-laden” well and lost his grip on the rope. He lay motionless at the bottom of the well for nearly an hour. Several attempts were made to rescue him but were unsuccessful due to the extreme black gas. Officers Lee Cashaw and F. Cushion were finally able to use the rope and long pole to secure a loop around one of his feet and pull him to the surface. Sgt. Gantz was unconscious and without a pulse. Five doctors from Colgin hospital were present, and although numerous life-saving methods were employed, to include the use of a pulmonator, they were not able to revive him.
Sgt. Gantz was survived by a wife and 7 children. His eighth child was born two days after his death, on August 10, 1923. Sgt. Gantz came to Waco in 1921 from Louisville, Kentucky. He worked with his father for a short time before joining the Waco Police Department. He was a member of the Masonic Order and the Woodmen of the World.
Officer Urby J. Thompson DOD: Monday, July 24, 1933 (midnight)
Officer Thompson stopped in front of a little café at Second and Washington for a cup of coffee. Before entering, he walked over to a parked truck to investigate a disturbance being created by a man in the truck. As he approached, the man shot him in the head, killing the officer instantly.
Officer Hull heard the shot, came to the scene, and arrested 50 year old Joseph Guy Mitchell. Policeman’s pay was $103.50 a month. The officer’s widow (and 4 children) was entitled to half that amount monthly as long as she lives or until she remarried. Officer Thompson was 36 years old.
Officer J. M. Baskin DOD: Wednesday, August 19, 1936 (20:00)
Officer Baskin was investigating a disturbance at the home of I.W. Friedsam at 3130 Colcord where Friedsam was refusing to pay $1 taxi fare. Friedsam fired a shotgun from the front door, as Officer Baskin fell wounded; he emptied his service pistol at Friedsam. Friedsam fired again. Officer John Murphy was in the driveway and returned fire with a pistol and a shotgun while the taxi driver picked up Officer Baskin and carried him to his car. Officer Baskin died from the wounds ten days later. Officer Murphy had bullets lodged in his heavy leather belt, evidence that was his only protection from serious injury. Officers surrounded the house and Friedsam was taken into custody.
Officer Elmer Huddleston DOD: Tuesday, July 3, 1940 (morning)
Officer Huddleston and Rookie Officer Ira Royals stopped a vehicle with Arizona license plate in front of the L & M Café at Third and LaSalle.
When Officer Huddleston told the three suspects to exit the car, one of the suspects reached for a gun under his shirt. Officer Huddleston exchanged gunfire simultaneously with the man. He wounded the suspect in the head while himself being shot in the throat. He shot the second suspect in the arm and Rookie Officer Royals shot the third suspect in the stomach.
Rookie Officer Royals held the three suspects in custody while Officer Huddleston walked into the café and told the waitress he had been shot. Officer
Huddleston was carried to Providence by Chief C.C. Maxey. Officer Huddleston died about ten minutes after reaching the hospital. He was a 5 year veteran.
It was Ira Royals’ first day on the force.
Officer H.R. Anderson DOD: Tuesday, October 8, 1940 (13:20)
Officer Anderson left City Hall on his motorcycle responding to a fire alarm at 32nd and Lasker. (One block from his residence). He was riding up Austin Ave. at a high rate of speed when he collided with a vehicle at 11th St. Officer Anderson was thrown high into the air, over the top of the vehicle, and landed under the front of a bus. Hundreds of Wacoans who were en route to town from lunch, were attracted to the scene. The sound of the collision was heard for several blocks. Officer Anderson died at Providence Hospital.
Sergeant Donald H. Basquette DOD: Sunday, December 22, 1968 (morning)
In the 2300 block of Columbus, officers spotted 23-year-old Jimmy Dean Cloud, who was wanted for Robbery of the Comanche National Bank, and for the earlier shooting death of a Waco man. Cloud was arrested and placed in the back of a patrol car. When Sgt. Basquette opened the door to talk to him, Cloud pulled a .25 caliber pistol, pointing it at Sgt. Basquette. Cloud then removed the sergeant’s .38 caliber revolver from its holster and began firing
it. Officers at the scene returned fire and Cloud surrendered.
Sgt. Basquette died at Hillcrest Hospital from gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen. Sgt. Basquette is survived by a wife and two children.
Sergeant Roger Earl Barrett DOD: Saturday, June 12, 1976 (0900)
The sergeant was stabbed several times and shot with his own revolver while trying to arrest a suspect who had just stabbed a man to death at the Greyhound Bus Station at 700 Columbus. The suspect, 23-year-old Thelette Brandon, ran out of the terminal and attempted to drive off in a taxi. As Sgt. Barrett pulled Brandon out of the taxi, Brandon stabbed him and wrestled Sgt. Barrett’s pistol away and shot him. Brandon fled down an alley where he was captured after receiving several gunshot wounds from responding officers.
Patrolmen Mike Young and Steve DeLaRosa took Sgt. Barrett to the hospital in a patrol car where he died shortly after arrival. Sgt. Barrett was an 18-year veteran and is survived by a wife and daughter.
Thelette Brandon is currently in T.D.C.
Sergeant John “Bobby” Vicha DOD: Tuesday, August 29, 1989 (17:30)
Sgt. Vicha was shot and killed at his home in Axtell, Texas by his brother-in-law, Billy Wayne Coble. Sgt. Vicha’s parents were also found shot and killed in their home about a quarter of a mile away. Coble fled, taking Sgt. Vicha’s sister at gunpoint. Bosque County S.O. spotted Coble’s vehicle and a high speed chase occurred. Coble wrecked by running into the back end of a truck.
Sgt. Vicha was an 18-year veteran. He is survived by two children.
Coble is currently in T.D.C.
August 6, 2012