Bio & Incident Details
Tour: Not available
Badge # Not available
Incident Date: 12/25/1927
Weapon: Shotgun; 12 gauge
Suspect: Shot and killed
Sheriff Wash Coppinger, Deputies Langford Hennessey, and James Conner were shot and killed in a shootout with members of the South Pittsburgh Police Department who held a grudge against the sheriff.
The city's night marshal was the former sheriff who had lost his re-election bid against Sheriff Coppinger. The night marshal had appointed a man who had been arrested by Sheriff Coppinger as a deputy marshal.
During a labor strike at a local factory, the night marshal and his officers supported the non-union workers who were not striking and harassed striking workers.
A county deputy witnessed the officers holding a union member at gunpoint and approached them. The city officers then held the deputy at gunpoint before dispersing. The deputy immediately notified Sheriff Coppinger, who responded to the scene with Deputies L.B. Hennessey, James Conner, and his son, who was also a deputy.
The sheriff and deputies confronted the officers and attempted to resolve the situation peacefully by offering to discuss it with the mayor. The sheriff then informed one of the officers he would have to be arrested for pointing the gun at the deputy.
One of the officers then opened fire with a shotgun. During the ensuing shootout, Sheriff Coppinger and Deputy L.B. Hennessey were killed, along with the city night marshal, his deputy, and a special officer who worked at the local factory. Deputy James Conner, who also served as the South Pittsburgh police chief, suffered a fatal shotgun blast and died the following day.
Sheriff Coppinger was survived by his wife and children.