Patrolman John H. Tennyson

Patrolman John H. Tennyson

Louisville Police Department, Kentucky

End of Watch Sunday, August 14, 1949

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John H. Tennyson

Patrolman Tennyson was shot and killed in a running gun battle with the notorious gangster, Earl David Bircham, when he interrupted a robbery at 2115 hours. Patrolman Tennyson had stopped by a downtown restaurant to see his wife when the incident occurred. Bircham was captured by a former marine when he ran into the back yard of the marine's home right after he killed Patrolman Tennyson.

Earl David Bircham, known as public enemy #1 by the FBI, was wanted in Kentucky, Tennesee, Kansas, and Ohio for several armed robberies and burglaries. He had escaped three times from different jails and almost escaped from the Louisville Jail after being confined there for killing Patroman Tennyson. He was so good at escaping that two guards with shotguns were assigned to watch him 24 hours a day. Bircham was convicted of Patrolman Tennyson's murder and executed in the electric chair on Febuary 1, 1952.

Patrolman Tennyson had been with the agency for seven years and was survived by his wife.


  • Age 32
  • Tour 7 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Executed in 1952

Most Recent Reflection

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To fully appreciate the heroes of the present, we must recognize our heroes of the past. Your heroism and service is honored today, the 64th anniversary year of your death. I am priviliged to be among the first to leave a tribute to you. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer who was murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered. Rest In Peace.

Phyllis Lasater Loya
mom of fallen Pittsburg (CA) officer Larry Lasater

February 21, 2013

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