Detective James J. O'Brien

Detective James J. O'Brien

Seattle Police Department, Washington

End of Watch Friday, January 21, 1921

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James J. O'Brien

Detective James O'Brien was shot and killed near 705 2nd Avenue at approximately 10:00 pm when he and his partner spotted a man fitting the description of the suspect wanted for the murders of Police Officer William Angle and Police Officer Neil McMillan.

The two officers had been shot one hour earlier.

When Detective O'Brien and his partner identified themselves, the suspect drew a handgun and shots were exchanged. During the exchange, Detective O'Brien was killed. The suspect was apprehended and tried for all three murders six days later. He was convicted, sentenced to death, and hanged at Walla Walla State Prison on April 1, 1921.

Detective O'Brien had served with the Seattle Police Department for 11 years. He was survived by his wife and son.


  • Age Not available
  • Tour 11 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Executed in 1921

murder suspect

Most Recent Reflection

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Det. O’Brien,
On today, the 100th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Seattle.


United States Border Patrol

January 21, 2021

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