Incident DetailsCause of Death:
Patrolman Virgil Kirkman was shot and killed after responding to a robbery in progress.
While an accomplice stood across the street, another subject entered the W.W. Miller Pawnshop on South Canal Street with a red handkerchief over his face and commanded the shop's owner to turn over the day's receipts of $30, who complied. Patrolman Kirkman and another officer responded after being alerted to the robbery by a customer leaving the store. As Patrolman Kirkman entered the store with his gun holstered, the suspect turned and shot the officer through the head without warning. Patrolman Kirkman later died in a hospital.
The accomplice was arrested shortly after the robbery and refused to cooperate with authorities. The suspect fled the scene to his father's home, where Chief of Police John Ellis was mortally wounded while attempting to arrest the suspect and succumbed to his injuries two days later in a hospital. After escaping, the suspect had his wounded arm tended to by a doctor in Orestes and started walking toward Frankton. He was found asleep in a nearby barn after several posses had formed to search for him.
The accused were moved five days later from the city jail and held in Anderson for fear that a lynching would take place. Both suspects were later sentenced to life in prison.