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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At 515 am this morning 4-22 - 2024 here in New Orleans marked the 141 year anniversary of the killing in cold blood of my great great grandfather. John Coffee! He got up like every Sunday morning kissed his wife goodbye and all 8 children. And would see them that evening when he got off his shift. Half hour later at 515 am John was murdered by Alfred Gossette. Like stated at Gossette trial this family went from a very loving happy family to a very destroyed one. Mother went into insane asylum and his son revenge the murder 6 months later. Rest In Peace Grandpa Badge 99 Joe Craven

JE Craven
Great great grandson

April 23, 2024

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