Shot His Fellow Officer

by Laurel | February 2nd, 2007

[From the Brooklyn Eagle, 02 February 1895. Page 1 news, even in Brooklyn.]

Shot His Fellow Officer
Then a Holyoke, Mass., Policeman
Calmly Killed Himself.
Both Fell Dead Together.
A Double Tragedy for Which There Appears No Reason Except Temporary Insanity—The Men Had Always Been Friends—The Deed Was Done With Such Rapidity as to Defy Interference.

Holyoke, Mass., February 2.—A tragedy for which at present there appears no reason, occurred this morning in the police station in this city. Officer Patrick J. Devereaux shot and mortally wounded ex-Police Captain Maurice D. Fenton. He then turned the weapon on himself and drove a bullet through his own brain which killed him instantly. Fenton died in a very few minutes.

The affair occurred in the patrolman’s room in the city building just about 8 o’clock this morning. The officers were assembling at their customary time. Patrolman Devereaux entered the hallway and passed Lieutenant P.B. Sullivan. He spoke a pleasant word to him and after a bit of conversation Devereaux entered the policeman’s room. There he found Officer Fenton seated next to an iron post and leaning his head against the pillar. So far as known no word passed between the two men.

Devereaux hesitated not an instant. He marched up to the sitting man, drew his revolver from his hip pocket and shot him in the head, the ball striking the temple. Then, without waiting to see the result of the shot he placed he muzzle of the weapon to his forehead, pulled the trigger again and sent a bullet through his own brains.

Both men fell to the floor almost together. The officers in the adjoining room heard the pistol report and quickly rushed to the scene to ascertain the cause. They found the two bodies lying on the floor with bloody wounds on the head. Fenton was still living, though unconscious, and he breathed his last in a few minutes.

So far as is known no personal quarrel of any sort existed between the two men previous to the shooting. Both, however, were witnesses to the case of Patrilman Reilly, that was heard before the aldermen something over a week ago. At that time these officers corroborated the testimony of Reilly and did not make statements which conflicted with each other. What they said seemed to agree perfectly, but it was of such unusual character as to create comment throughout the city, and many citizens were heard to express surprise that Fenton and Devereaux should become mixed up in an affair of that sort. There is, however, in the circumstances surrounding this hearing nothing which can explain the tragedy of this morning. So far as is known the two men bore each other no personal ill-will on account of the events of the Reilly investigation. The absence also of any personal spite of grievance complicates the mystery which Holyoke people are trying to solve. Every circumstance connected with the lives of the two unfortunate men is being scrutinized and it is hoped that some adequate explanation of the tragedy may be found. In the light of everything that is known at present it certainly seems as if Devereaux was suffering at the time from temporary insanity. This, at least, is the charitable explanation that is given by those who know most about the affair.

Ex-Captain Fenton lived at 114 Sargeant Street. He was the oldest man on the force except Patrolman Shea. Fenton leaves a widow and four children. He was married for the second time about three years ago.

Patrolman Devereaux lived at 9 Hampden Street. He leaves a widow and eight small children. He had always been a distinctively home man, remaining with his family when off duty. He has enjoyed a reputation of being a quiet and orderly citizen.

Both bodies are lying in uniform in the patrolmen’s room. The weapon with which the deed was committed is a 38-caliber, five shot, self acting Smith & Wesson revolver. At present there are three cartridges in the weapon, the other two having been sent on their deadly mission. The revolver is covered with smoke and is not in charge of Marshal Twaddie.

In the room at the time of the shooting were ex-Lieutenant John Davis, Patrolman Patrick Ryan, new on duty in Ward Four; Patrolman Peter Cullen, a brother of George Cullen, who was the principal witness on the board of license commission in the hearing of Patrolman Reilly.

A large crowd gathered around the patrolmen’s room but the marshal issued ordered that no one should be admitted. The bodies were examined by Medical Examiner Tuttle, City Physician Mahoney and Dr. Donoghue. One of these doctors expressed his opinion to a police officer that the deed had been committed in a fit of insanity.

The terrible tragedy occurred in less time than it takes to tell it, and it produced a sensation most profound. The news spread with great rapidity over the city and in a short time scores of people were flocking to the city hall intend upon finding out every detail about the shooting and the incidents leading up to it.

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