Officer William Whitfield

Officer William Whitfield

Indianapolis Police Department, Indiana

End of Watch Monday, November 27, 1922

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William Whitfield

Officer William Whitfield succumbed to gunshot wounds suffered five months earlier while chasing a suspect.

Officer Whitfield was in plain clothes on foot patrol when he entered an alley just west of 3500 North Collage Avenue and noticed a roughly-dressed man. He asked the man what he was doing there, and the man suddenly turned and ran, with Officer Whitfield in pursuit. During the chase, the man suddenly turned and fired several shots from a revolver, striking Officer Whitfield once in the abdomen. He was able to stumble back to the street, where he collapsed. Passers-by took him to a hospital where he lingered for five months before succumbing to his injuries.

The suspect was never captured.

Officer Whitfield had served with the Indianapolis Police Department for 12 years. He was survived by his two sisters.

As he was initially buried in an unmarked grave, on November 30, 1998, he was given a full-honors funeral after members of the department contributed to the purchase of a headstone for his grave site.

Officer Whitfield is the first known African-American law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty in the state of Indiana and the first of three unsolved police murders in Indianapolis.


  • Age 37
  • Tour 12 years
  • Badge 276

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Sunday, June 18, 1922
  • Weapon Handgun; Revolver
  • Offender Case never solved

foot pursuit, suspicious person

Most Recent Reflection

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Officer Whitfield,
On today, the 100th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Indianapolis.


United States Border Patrol

November 27, 2022

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