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Patrolman William Frederick Meyer | Louisville Police Department, Kentucky Louisville Police Department, Kentucky

Patrolman

William Frederick Meyer

Louisville Police Department, Kentucky

End of Watch: Friday, September 1, 1967

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 33

Tour: 11 years

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Gun; Unknown type

Offender: Sentenced to life

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Patrolman William Meyer was shot and killed by in a shootout with five men who had just robbed a grocery store. He confronted the suspects in the grocery store parking lot at 2100 Gardiner Lane as they were making their escape.

One of the suspects was captured in Vincennes, Indiana, the next day. Three were apprehended in Racine, Wisconsin, three days later. The fifth suspect was captured by FBI agents in Tampa, Florida, on March 2, 1968. All five were out of jail and under bond for grocery store robberies committed in Madison, Wisconsin, and Springfield, Illinois. Four of the suspects were found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to death July 3, 1968. In 1972 their sentences were commuted to life.

Patrolman Meyer was survived by his wife and children. In 1959 he was cited for unusual bravery when he rescued two people from a fire.

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I was 12 when Officer Meyer was killed, and like the writer above, I never pass by this location without thinking about him. I remember at the time of the murder it was fortunate I wasn't there at the time, as my mother and I were at the Gardner Lane Shopping Center all the time. And of course, we kept shopping their all the time.

My father was an attorney, so after the men were captured I asked my dad if I could attend a portion of the trial and he said yes. Although he had no connection to the case, he talked to some court people and they promised they'd keep an eye on me. I think I was the only kid in the courtroom. I remember looking at them and thinking "why would you kill an innocent man like this?" That image stayed with me a very long time as well.

A couple of years after the murder, I met a kid at school by the same name of the officer, and feeling a bit of trepidation, I asked him if he was his son, and Bill said yes.

To this day I feel a sense of angst whenever I think about the murder of Officer William Meyer.

Kevin M. Sullivan
A friend of the officer's son
November 3, 2016

 

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