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Correctional Officer Harold P. Stites | United States Department of Justice - Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Government United States Department of Justice - Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Government

Correctional Officer

Harold P. Stites

United States Department of Justice - Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Government

End of Watch: Thursday, May 2, 1946

Bio & Incident Details

Age: Not available

Tour: Not available

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Location: California

Weapon: Gun; Unknown type

Offender: Two shot and killed; Two executed

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Correctional Harold Officer Stites and Correctional Officer William A. Miller were shot and killed during an attempted prison escape at the Alcatraz Prison in California. Several inmates were able to gain control of the prison's arsenal and took nine guards hostage, locking them in two separate cells. The prisoners demanded the prison keys, where were all turned over except for the one that allowed access to the outside. The guards were able to conceal that key in a toilet.

When the prisoners realized they were unable to escape they began firing into the cells, wounding all of the officers. An assault team of other officers and United States Marines stormed the facility. During the ensuing battle Officer Stites, a member of the rescue team, was shot and killed and six other officers were wounded.

Officer Miller was among the original nine hostages and also died of his wounds. In all 14 officers were wounded and two were killed. Two of the inmates were also killed. Two others were later executed for the murders and one other was sentenced to 99 years.

One of the two executed was serving time for the murder of Detective Lemuel Savage of the Amarillo Police Department, Texas. The suspect was convicted of a federal kidnapping charge related to Detective Savage's murder and was sent to Alcatraz Prison to serve the time.

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Related Line of Duty Deaths

Detective Lemuel Dodd Savage
Amarillo Police Department, Texas
End of Watch: Thursday, March 15, 1945
Cause: Gunfire

Correctional Officer William A. Miller
United States Department of Justice - Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Government
End of Watch: Friday, May 3, 1946
Cause: Gunfire

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Most Recent Reflection

Rest in Peace

I ask one thing - that in still, far-off days,
Someone who knew me should in their daily rounds,
Suddenly pause, caught by some sight or sound,
Some glance, some phrase, some trick of memory's ways
which brings me to mind, then I shall wait,
eager with hope, perhaps to hear -
“how great if he were with us still!”
And then at the end, all that I wish for is just -
“he was my friend!”

From “A Soldier's Epitaph” by David McNicholl

N Elias
Federal Law Enforcement Officer, USDOJ
Former Security Police Officer, USAF
May 28, 2017

 

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