Inspector John W. Blackburn

Inspector John W. Blackburn

Philadelphia Police Department, Pennsylvania

End of Watch Thursday, January 17, 1929

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John W. Blackburn

Inspector John Blackburn was shot to death by a man who had barricaded himself with a shotgun in his apartment on Mermaid Lane, near St. Martin’s Lane in Chestnut Hill.

The man was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Inspector Blackburn had served with the agency for 25 years. He was survived by his wife and five children.


  • Age Not available
  • Tour 25 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Not guilty by reason of insanity

barricade, EDP

Most Recent Reflection

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Not a reflection but rather point of accuracy. My grandfather, Joseph Lawrence, was in fact severely wounded in this incident and the gun that was used by the shooter was a .38 pistol rather than shotgun as stated here. I know this because he was always pissed off that when he joined the police force he was required to purchase a .38 rather than a cheaper .32 due to its knock down power and it never knocked him off his feet - he walked out of the house unaided (under Blackburn's orders) to seek medical assistance. It is my understanding that this was the same gun that Blackburn was later shot with.

Jordan Lawrence

May 25, 2020

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