Detective David H. Barnes

Detective David H. Barnes

New York Central Railroad Police Department, Railroad Police

End of Watch Wednesday, July 28, 1920

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David H. Barnes

Detective David Barnes was shot and killed while patrolling the New York Central Railroad tracks in Elyria, Ohio.

Earlier in the evening he had arrested three transients and had delivered them to the "Bum Cell" at the Elyria Police Department to be held overnight. After delivering the prisoners he returned to the East Bridge Street railroad undercut at about 10:25 pm to search for two more transients he had seen there.

As he walked the tracks a man hiding between nearby boxcars suddenly opened fire from ambush, striking Detective Barnes in the pelvis and knocking him down. The man then shot him in the head at point blank range. He was transported to a local hospital where he died at approximately 1:15 am.

The suspect who shot him was a notorious bank robber in the area who was wanted for the murder of Detective Patrick Gaffney of the East Cleveland Police Department. He was arrested following Detective Barnes' murder. He was subsequently convicted of Detective Gaffney's murder and sentenced to life in prison. He was never tried for murdering Detective Barnes.

Detective Barnes had served with the New York Central Railroad Police Department for four years and had previously served as a deputy game warden. He was survived by his wife and four children.


  • Age 48
  • Tour 4 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Ohio
  • Incident Date Tuesday, July 27, 1920
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Sentenced to life

Most Recent Reflection

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Thank you for your service and please know that your sacrifice is one that will never, ever be forgotten by your law enforcement brethren. Rest in peace always.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

July 28, 2020

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