Detective Truman Swain

Detective Truman Swain

Philadelphia Police Department, Pennsylvania

End of Watch Saturday, July 5, 1924

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Truman Swain

Detective Swain was shot and killed inside a garage at the corner of 7th and Christian streets in South Philadelphia. Detective Swain was killed when he attempted to stop a gun battle involving six men and a woman.

The fracas was the result of a long-standing feud that came to a head when shots were fired through the garage window about 1 a.m. The owner came out and confronted a man and he later returned with his wife and two other men. An argument ensued and passing officers ordered them to disperse and they did so temporarily. Just after the officers rounded a corner, the gunfire started.

Detective Swain was passing by and stopped to intervene. He was shot in the neck while trying to rescue one man who was about to be stabbed. He was subsequently shot four more times and died on the spot. Detective Swain shot and killed his assailant, the garage owner, and severely wounded the garage owner's son in the gun battle.

Five suspects were arrested and three were detained as material witnesses.

Detective Swain, a veteran of the Spanish-American War, had served with the agency for 18 years and was assigned to the Auto Squad. He was a recognized expert on auto theft and vehicle identification. He was survived by his wife and son.


  • Age 48
  • Tour 18 years
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Shot and killed

disturbance, shots fired

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Rest in peace Detective Swain.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

July 4, 2021

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