Chief of Police Robert Oscar Sullivan

Chief of Police Robert Oscar Sullivan

Hot Springs Police Department, Arkansas

End of Watch Monday, April 14, 1924

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Robert Oscar Sullivan

Chief of Police Oscar Sullivan was shot and killed shortly after midnight by a well-known traveling gambler he had ongoing problems with and had previously ordered to leave town.

The man and an acquaintance had followed a woman along Central Avenue until she stopped her car in front of a cafe after turning into Broadway Street. The woman entered the cafe and told Chief Sullivan about the men. Chief Sullivan emerged from the cafe and confronted the men about following the woman. During the ensuing encounter, the man shot Chief Sullivan, killing him.

The suspect, who claimed self-defense, was tried for murder and acquitted.

Chief Sullivan had served with the Hot Springs Police Department for four years.


  • Age Not available
  • Tour 4 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .45 caliber
  • Offender Acquitted


Most Recent Reflection

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I have a picture of Sullivan which was in the photo album of a Kansas attorney from then, John J. McCurdy. The photo has written at the bottom when he was killed, so I googled that date along with the name Sullivan, as the next picture in the photo album had that name at the bottom of the picture and comparing the two pictures, they are the same man. I do not see how I can share these pictures here, so email me if you want to see them.

Jeff Broome
retired professor and western history historian

February 1, 2022

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