Police Officer John Coffee

Police Officer John Coffee

Crescent City Police Department, Louisiana

End of Watch Sunday, April 22, 1883

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John Coffee

Officer John Coffee was shot and killed as he attempted to arrest a man who had been accused of theft. A monte dealer on Officer Coffee's beat had sought his assistance after being pushed and robbed by a man who was angered by the fact that he had lost several hands. The suspect, who had been arrested several times in the months leading up to the incident for similar behavior, had then taunted the dealer by saying that he could do whatever he wanted with impunity.

Officer Coffee and another officer tracked the suspect to a saloon on the corner of Franklin and Customhouse Streets and placed him under arrest for the assault. The suspect initially complied, but soon grew angry. As he was being lead out into the street, the suspect drew a revolver and fired at the officers, striking Officer Coffee in the chest and abdomen and wounding his partner in the hand.

Two citizens sought medical attention for Officer Coffee as his partner and another officer exchanged shots with the suspect, who was wounded and captured after a short pursuit. Officer Coffee succumbed to his injuries en route to Charity Hospital.

Officer Coffee joined the New Orleans Police Department in 1859 and was retained as an officer in 1868 when the New Orleans Police were merged with Jefferson and St. Bernard Parish agencies to form the Metropolitan Police Department. He continued to serve with that department until 1876, when he joined the "ribbon force," a volunteer police force that patrolled New Orleans. Officer Coffee then became an officer of the Crescent City Police Department shortly after its creation in 1877. At the time of his death at age 57, he had served the city of New Orleans for a total of 24 years.

He was survived by his wife and 8 children, and he was interred in St. Patrick's Cemetery in New Orleans.


  • Age 57
  • Tour 24 years
  • Badge 99

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .38 caliber
  • Offender Captured

Most Recent Reflection

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Officer Coffee,
On today, the 140th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Crescent City. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

April 22, 2023

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