Police Officer Paul Ralph Fox

Police Officer Paul Ralph Fox

Pennsylvania Coal and Iron Police Department, Pennsylvania

End of Watch Wednesday, February 9, 1927

Add to My Heroes

Paul Ralph Fox

Police Officer Ralph Fox succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained two days earlier while and another officer attempted to question two subjects who had brought moonshine onto the property of the Vesta Coal Company near Brownsville.

Officer Fox and Officer Knapp had witnessed the two men carrying a five-gallon can of moonshine from a vehicle in an attempt to sell it on the property. They approached the subjects as they entered the coal company's property. Both men shot at the officers, striking Officer Knapp in the head, killing him, and striking Officer Fox in the shoulder, arm, and back as he lay on the ground. Both subjects fled the area through a railway. A posse was quickly organized after the shooting but failed to capture the men.

Officer Fox was rushed to a hospital in Brownsville where he fell unconsciousness after giving a license plate number of the vehicle that dropped off both subjects to investigators. The license number quickly led to the arrest of one suspect, age 31. He was convicted of one count of murder and sentenced to life. He applied for a commutation of his sentence on November 26, 1942, after his attorney convinced Governor Arthur H. James that he shot at the officers but the other suspect was their killer. He was released a few weeks later.

The second suspect, age 31, was arrested in New York in September of 1927 for the assault of a man during a card game. A month later he was sentenced to one year for the assault in West Chester Penitentiary under a false name. After he had served 58 days he escaped. A few days later he was shot and seriously wounded by police in Elizabeth, New Jersey, when he opened fire when they attempted to take him into custody. While in the hospital he took a turn for the worse and asked to see the police because he thought he was going to die. He told officials his real name and confessed that he was the murderer of Officer Fox and Officer Knapp. He recovered, was returned to Washington County, convicted of two counts of murder and sentenced to death. On January 14, 1929, he was executed in the electric chair.

Officer Fox served with the Pennsylvania Coal and Iron Police Department for seven years and previously served with the Pennsylvania State Police. He is survived by his wife and two sisters.


  • Age 33
  • Tour 11 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Monday, February 7, 1927
  • Weapon Handgun; .38 caliber
  • Offender Executed in 1929

alcohol violation

Most Recent Reflection

View all 4 Reflections

Rest in peace Officer Fox.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

February 9, 2023

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.