Benjamin Tobias Thornton
Indianapolis Police Department
Monday, June 18, 1900

Age: 50
Served: 24 years
Badge #:
Not Included
Not Included

Incident Details

Cause of Death:
Duty-related illness
Date/Time of Incident:
Saturday, June 2, 1900

Incident to Death Duration:
16 days
Incident Location:
1113 Lafayette Street, Indianapolis
Incident County:
Incident Township:
Weapon Used:
Suspect Disposition:
Burial Place:
Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis

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   Detective Benjamin Thornton had been investigating bicycle thieves with his partner in the weeks prior to his death when he developed a cold that did not resolve on its own.

   During this investigation, they learned the suspect wanted for killing Patrolman John Shipp, 57, of the Cleveland Division of Police in Ohio, on May 6 was visiting a home in the city and began surveillance on it for two nights during a torrential rainstorm.

   Despite being ill, Detective Thornton wanted to participate in apprehending the suspect on June 2 but was ordered to go home by the chief of detectives.

   Detective Thornton, who had asthma for at least 20 years, was confined to his home until his death from pneumonia over two weeks later.

   The 30-year-old suspect was arrested by other officers and extradited to Ohio where he was later convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. On June 28, 1901, he was executed by electrocution at the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus.

   Detective Thornton was survived by his wife and 12-year-old daughter.

In Memoriam


Patrolman John Shipp
Cleveland Division of Police
• Honored on the Ohio Fallen Officers' Memorial in London, Ohio

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

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This officer, discovered in 2023, has not been submitted for consideration as an eligible line of duty death to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

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Detective Benjamin Tobias Thornton - Indianapolis Police Department -