Chief of Police John Ellis

Chief of Police John Ellis

Alexandria Police Department, Indiana

End of Watch Monday, March 6, 1911

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John Ellis

Chief John Ellis died from wounds suffered two days earlier after being shot while attempting to arrest a robbery suspect.

While an accomplice stood across the street, another subject entered the Miller Pawnshop on South Canal Street with a red handkerchief over his face and commanded the shop's owner to turn over the day's receipts, who complied. Patrolman Virgil Kirkman and another officer responded after being alerted to the robbery by a customer leaving the store. As Patrolman Kirkman entered the store with his gun holstered, the suspect turned and shot the officer through the head without warning. Patrolman Kirkman later died in a hospital.

The 16-year-old accomplice was arrested shortly after the robbery and refused to cooperate with authorities. The 25-year-old suspect fled the scene to his father's home, where Chief Ellis was mortally wounded while attempting to arrest the suspect and succumbed to his injuries two days later in a hospital. After escaping, the suspect had his wounded arm tended to by a doctor in Orestes and started walking toward Frankton. He was found asleep in a nearby barn after several posses had formed to search for him.

The accused were moved five days later from the city jail and held in Anderson for fear that a lynching would take place. Both suspects were later sentenced to life in prison.

The accomplice was paroled in 1919. The killer was released in 1936.

Chief Ellis had served with the Alexandria Police Department for five years.


  • Age 33
  • Tour 5 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Saturday, March 4, 1911
  • Weapon Handgun; Revolver
  • Offender Released in 1936

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Monica Zahasky
Cops cycling for survivors

March 6, 2017

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