Police Officer David Richard Van Curler

Police Officer David Richard Van Curler

West Palm Beach Police Department, Florida

End of Watch Thursday, April 6, 1967

David Richard Van Curler

Officer Van Curler and Officer William Fletcher were shot and killed while responding to a disturbance at a local bank at 45th Street and Broadway. The bank manager had called after hours to report a man pounding on the doors and yelling to be let in. After arriving Officer Fletcher contacted the employees of the bank and then went to talk to the man who was still in front of the bank. The man continued to shout and cause as a disturbance as Officer Fletcher tried to talk to him. Because portable radios were not used at the time Officer Fletcher returned to his cruiser to call for backup.
As Officer Fletcher completed his transmission the man began walking towards him and met him at the curb. The man then struck him and knocked him down. During the ensuing struggle the suspect gained control of Officer Fletcher's revolver and shot him twice. At that moment Officer Van Curler arrived on his motorcycle. The suspect immediately opened fire, shooting through the motorcycle's windshield and striking Officer Van Curler in the chest. After walking over to Officer Van Curler the suspect then attempted to shoot him again but the gun was empty. He then took Officer Van Curler's weapon. Officer Fletcher had managed to get to his feet but the suspect shot him again with Officer Van Curler's weapon, fatally wounding him. Other officers arrived on the scene and took the suspect into custody. The suspect was commited to a mental hospital where he later died.


  • Age Not available
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Not available

Most Recent Reflection

View all 17 Reflections

He rode with me when he started with WPBPD. I showed him the ropes, I guess. We didn't really have training officers. He was a fine and good man. I was with another department when David was gunned down. Was rummaging through photographs today and there we were, with the rest of our shift. Many of them have passed on but lived full lives first. His was cut short. His smiling face remains in my memory.

Jim Hegarty Lt. Retired PBSO
Fellow officer WPBPD

October 13, 2014

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