Hugh Burns
Indianapolis Police Department
Monday, August 28, 1882

Age: 34
Served: 3 months
Badge #:
Panel 44W, Line 16
Panel L26, Line 1

Incident Details

Cause of Death:
Date/Time of Incident:
Monday, August 28, 1882
10:00 pm
Incident to Death Duration:
Same day
Incident Location:
Garden and Tennessee streets, Indianapolis
Incident County:
Incident Township:
Weapon Used:
.42-caliber handgun
Suspect Disposition:
Burial Place:
Holy Cross and Saint Joseph Cemetery, Indianapolis

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   Officer Hugh Burns was shot and killed while investigating sounds of gunfire.

   He was off duty, sitting on his front porch when he heard gunshots coming from in front of Keating's Saloon nearby. When he went to investigate he observed a man holding bystanders at bay with his revolver held in the air and yelling at them.

   Despite being unarmed, Officer Burns approached the man and informed him he was under arrest. The man immediately shot Officer Burns at point-blank range just below the neck, killing him instantly, then shot him a second time in the left arm.

   The 26-year-old suspect was captured by the crowd, subsequently charged with murder but was later acquitted at trial after claiming self-defense.

   Officer Burns was survived by his wife and brother.

   On August 28, 2018, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Leadership Academy dedicated a footstone at the grave of Officer Burns to detail his sacrifice as the first known officer of the department to be killed in the line of duty.

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

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