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 Alexandria Loan Company with a red handkerchief over his face and commanded the owner, who complied, to turn over the day's receipts of $30. 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 28-year-old suspect shot him through the head without warning. Patrolman Kirkman later died in a hospital.
The 30-year-old accomplice was arrested shortly after the robbery and refused to cooperate with authorities. The suspect fled the scene to his parent's home, where Chief of Police John Ellis was mortally wounded while attempting to arrest the suspect and died from his injuries the next day 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.
The shooter had his sentence commuted to 25 years by the governor and released in 1936. The accomplice was paroled by the governor and discharged in 1920.
Patrolman Kirkman was survived by his wife, six-month-old son and parents.
• This incident was one of 23 which resulted in the line of duty deaths of two officers.