Police Officer Henry John Hicks

Police Officer Henry John Hicks

Philadelphia Police Department, Pennsylvania

End of Watch Tuesday, December 24, 1946

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Henry John Hicks

Police Officer Hicks was shot and killed after encountering two runaway juveniles on Frankford Avenue, near Ruan Street. The two juveniles had fled their homes in New Jersey and crossed into Philadelphia, where they were stopped by Officer Hicks.

When the two juveniles told Officer Hicks they were running away to Florida, he informed them the best place for them to be was at home and that he would pay for their return trip to New Jersey. One of the boys suddenly produced a 9 mm Luger handgun and shot Officer Hicks three times.

Despite being mortally wounded, Officer Hicks grabbed onto the juvenile and would not let go. The second juvenile then took Officer Hicks' nightstick and beat him with it, causing him to break his grip. The juvenile then stole his service revolver, and both boys fled the area.

Both boys, 15-years-old, bragged to three of their friends about killing Officer Hicks and said they were going to Wilmington, Delaware. The three informed the police and both were apprehended in Wilmington the next day. Neither showed any remorse as they made there first court appearance back in Philadelphia. In March of 1947 the one who did the shooting was convicted of murder and sentence to life. In March of 1958 he was one of 39 murderers granted clemency by Governor George M. Leader. The other juvenile, who beat Officer Hicks with the nightstick, was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 20 years. He was released after serving 5 years in an industrial school for boys.

Officer Hicks was a United States Navy veteran and had served with the Philadelphia Police Department for three years. He was survived by his wife and six children.

What Governor Leader did shocked J. Edgar Hoover and enraged our entire nation. He received a lot of condemnation from the U.S. House and Senate.


  • Age 39
  • Tour 3 years
  • Badge 3062
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; 9 mm
  • Offender Paroled in 1958

juvenile offender, runaway

Most Recent Reflection

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Officer Hicks,
On today, the 75th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Philadelphia. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

December 24, 2021

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