Patrolman William A. Toot

Patrolman William A. Toot

Richmond Police Department, Virginia

End of Watch Sunday, September 30, 1934

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William A. Toot

Patrolman William Toot was shot and killed at the old city jail, below the Marshall Street Viaduct, when two inmates attempted to escape. The inmates had obtained two pistols that were concealed inside a baked turkey and attempted to shoot their way out.

The suspects, who were in jail for murdering a mail-driver, were captured in New York in January 1935. They were subsequently executed on February 2nd, 1935.

Police suspected that Anthony Cugino, member of the infamous Tri-state gang, responsible for several murders in the northeast, sent the turkey to the suspects who were members of the gang. On September 9th, 1935, Cugino was arrested in New York City. He confessed to the murder of Policeman Charles Stockberger of the Philadelphia Police Department on July 14th, 1933. That night he hanged himself in his jail cell. He was also the primary suspect in the murder of Policeman James Garvey of the New York City Police Department on April 21st, 1934.

Patrolman Toot had served with the Richmond Police Department for 28 years.


  • Age 58
  • Tour 28 years
  • Badge 43

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Executed in 1935


Most Recent Reflection

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Officer Toot was a hero and virtually the only official in the Richmond jail that day that showed any courage when Robert Mais and Walter Legenza shot their way out of the city jail. He was gunned down on the threshold of the jail door in an arm's-length gun battle with the two murderers from Philadelphia. The entire RPD turned out for Toot's funeral at Oakwood Cemetery, where his tombstone notes "DIED IN DISCHARGE OF DUTY."

Selden Richardson
Richmond historian

April 15, 2022

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