Police Officer John Stack

Police Officer John Stack

Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Pennsylvania

End of Watch Wednesday, April 24, 1872

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John Stack

Police Officer John Stack succumbed to injuries sustained the previous day when he was brutally attacked from behind while on duty on Smithfield Street near Fourth Avenue.

Approximately 10 minutes before the incident Officer Stack had cleared from the scene of a fire with another officer and entered a restaurant to eat. As he left the restaurant to go back on his beat, he was attacked by at least three men and sustained several blows to the back of his head, resulting in a fractured skull. He was discovered in the middle of the street shortly after the incident by other officers and taken to his home in the 100 block of Third Avenue. Due to the nature of the injuries, he was taken to the Western Pennsylvania Hospital where he died the following day.

The owner of the restaurant and two other subjects were arrested and charged with his murder. On June 14th, 1872, charges were dropped against all three after a jury trial. Shortly before the trial a material witness mysteriously left town but returned to town the same day charges were dropped in court. The witness was arrested and detained as a defaulting witness and gave a statement to the court that he had left town with family for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and New York City, New York. He claimed he was given no indication about when the trial was taking place and did not feel he was an important witness.

Officer Stack was a Union Army veteran of the Civil War and had served with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police for three years. After the Civil War, he sculpted the statue of the Infantry of the United States that is displayed at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum in Allegheny County.


  • Age 25
  • Tour 3 years
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Assault
  • Incident Date Tuesday, April 23, 1872
  • Weapon Blunt object
  • Offender Acquitted

assault, foot patrol

Most Recent Reflection

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Officer Stack,
On today, the 150th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice-not just for your Community but for our Country as well when you served with the Union Army during the Civil War.


United States Border Patrol

April 24, 2022

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