Bio & Incident Details
Tour: Not available
Badge # Not available
Incident Date: 3/10/1904
Weapon: Officer's handgun
Suspect: Sentenced to 1 year
Officer Clarence Till was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a drunk man who was causing a disturbance in a coffee shop. During the initial arrest attempt the man along with four of his drunken friends were able to disarm Officer Till. Officer Till then went to the mayor's house and obtained two more pistols. When he and the mayor returned to the scene to arrest the man he was shot several times by the suspect who had setup an ambush from a hiding spot. The mayor returned fire wounding the suspect. The suspect was arrested the next day at his home by the Monroe County Sheriff.
On November 30, 1904, the suspect was convicted of Officer Till's murder and sentenced to death. In April of 1906 he was released on bail after the Florida Supreme Court overturned his conviction and ruled that he could only be tried for manslaughter. On December 6, 1907, he was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to one year in the county jail. While serving his sentence he was implicated in the robbery and arson of a cigar factory in Key West. On May 19, 1908, he was convicted of the crimes and sentenced to 13 years in prison. On October 21, 1909, he escaped from the Florida Penitentiary and went into hiding in a remote area of Monroe County. He went to work for a farmer who had him killed on October 17, 1910, so he would not have to pay him.
Officer Till served with the US Army during the Spanish American War and was survived by his expectant wife, two daughters, and a brother. He is buried in an unknown grave in Key West Cemetery in Key West, Florida.