Detective
James Melvin Compton Jr.
Indianapolis Police Department
Tuesday, March 16, 1976

Age: 29
Served: 2 years, 1 month
Badge #: 2559
Panel 63W, Line 11
Panel L18, Line 6

Incident Details

Cause of Death:
Gunfire
Date/Time of Incident:
Tuesday, March 16, 1976
10:00 pm
Incident to Death Duration:
Same day
Incident Location:
2145 Gent Avenue, Indianapolis
Incident County:
Marion
Incident Township:
Center
Weapon Used:
.38-caliber handgun
Suspect Disposition:
Shot and killed
Burial Place:
New Crown Cemetery, Indianapolis

   Detective James Compton was shot and killed while attempting to serve a narcotics warrant on a man suspected of selling marijuana to students at a nearby high school.

   He and three other detectives went to the man's home to serve the warrant. When Detective Compton knocked on the door and identified himself the suspect fired from inside the home, striking him in the head and chest.

   He was able to crawl across the front yard where he collapsed before being transported to Wishard Memorial Hospital and died approximately two hours later.

   The other detectives returned fire at the 19-year-old suspect, fatally wounding him.

   Detective Compton had served for only six weeks and had previously served as a police officer in Kansas for two years. He was survived by his wife, 6- and 11-year-old daughters and a 5-year-old son.

Military Service


United States Navy
Vietnam War


Purple Heart Medal


The responsibilities of the Indianapolis Police Department (1854–2006) are now under the jurisdiction of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.


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