Deputy Sheriff George A. Bills

Deputy Sheriff George A. Bills

Palmer Police Department, Massachusetts

End of Watch Tuesday, February 25, 1919

George A. Bills

Deputy Sheriff George Bills was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a fleeing suspect who was aboard a train that stopped in Palmer.

Deputy Bills and Officer Charles B. Thomas received word that a person suspected of shooting Springfield, Massachusetts, Police Lieutenant James Daly had boarded a train bound for Palmer. When the officers arrived at the train station they located the suspect on the train. When they approached the suspect he attempted to flee, shooting Officer Thomas once in the leg and Deputy Bills three times in the abdomen as he ran. Officer Thomas fired two shots at the suspect, striking him. The suspect was taken into custody, despite their injuries, with the help of passengers. Deputy Bills was transported to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries later that day.

Officer Thomas was treated but survived and went on to become Deputy Chief of the agency. The Springfield officer, Lieutenant Daly, also survived his injuries.

The suspect was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to life on May 10, 1920. He was pardoned by Governor James Curley on December 25, 1936. It was later discovered the suspect's father paid a member of the governor's council 1500 dollars to recommend the pardon. He along with a state representative, who tried to cover up the bribe, were impeached and found guilty of perjury.

Deputy Bills had served in law enforcement for 22 years. He was survived by his wife, sister, and two nephews.

Bio

  • Age 72
  • Tour 22 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Pardoned in 1936

Most Recent Reflection

View all 7 Reflections

Today marks the 97th anniversary of your tragic murder. I reread the story behind your death and find it reprehensible that people who are elected to govern our Commonwealth could be so despicable that a few dollars were all it took to just dismiss any justice that came from the murder of someone who put their life on the line to protect others.

But should it surprise me? No, I guess not, but it angers me.

You are a hero, your murderer and his accomplices at ever level, hopefully have faced true justice for their crimes, not a slap on the wrist.

God Bless, Brother and may you continue to Rest in Peace.

Ptl. Jim Leahy, Jr.
Harvard University Police Dept.

February 25, 2016

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