Home Defense Officer Isaac B. Halbfinger

Home Defense Officer Isaac B. Halbfinger

Metropolitan Police Department, District of Columbia

End of Watch Tuesday, July 22, 1919

Isaac B. Halbfinger

Home Defense Officer Isaac Halbfinger was shot and killed as he and his partner attempted to question a man at the corner of 9th Street and M Street, NW, during the 1919 Race Riots. The suspect immediately produced a pistol and shot Officer Halbfinger in the chest, killing him.

His partner then struggled with the suspect and was also shot and seriously wounded. The suspect fled the scene through an alley as he was pursued by a witness. Both officers were armed only with riot sticks, not guns.

Detective Sergeant Harry Wilson was shot and killed the previous day and several other officers were shot and wounded during the riots.

Officer Halbfinger was survived by his wife and two daughters. He is buried in Adas Israel Cemetery, Washington, DC.

Home Defense League officers were volunteer special officers who assisted the Metropolitan Police Department during WWI.


  • Age 41
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Not available

Most Recent Reflection

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Officer Halbfinger was my father's uncle. I was born in 1939 so naturally I did not know him, but I did know his daughers Leah (Lena) and Sarah. I have never heard the story of his murder until I saw it on this site. Thanks a lot for having this Internet site and for memorizing him. (Leah was a nurse and she volunteered and came to Israel in 1949 and worked in Assaf Harofeh Hospital, met a guy from New Zealand, married him and moved with him to NZ. Sarah was a lawyer and worked in the White House -I guess in the Executive Office - she attended my wedding in Princeton in 1968 and we met with her in 1979).

Ehud Finkelstein

June 3, 2016

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