Detective Sergeant James Higgins

Detective Sergeant James Higgins

Erie Police Department, Pennsylvania

End of Watch Sunday, May 14, 1905

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James Higgins

Detective Sergeant James Higgins was shot and killed while investigating a report of a suspicious person at the Central High School at 10th Street and Sassafras Street at 10:30 hours.

After an initial investigation he returned to the station after finding nothing. He told another officer he was going to return to the school to check it a second time. While there the second time he encountered a man and he identified himself as a police officer. The suspect suddenly produced a handgun and shot him in the jaw.

As he struggled with the suspect he was shot two more times in the chest. The suspect fled and was never apprehended.

Detective Sergeant Higgins was a U.S. Army veteran of the Civil War and had served with the Erie Police Department for 23 years. He was survived by his wife and seven children.

On April 1st, 2003, 98 years after his murder, Detective Sergeant Higgins was posthumously awarded the department's Medal of Honor.


  • Age 58
  • Tour 23 years
  • Badge 10
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Never identified

suspicious person

Most Recent Reflection

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Your assailant may have escaped capture and justice but he surely faced a much higher court and justice at a later time. No passage of time can ever erase your service, military as well as police, and sacrifice. Rest in peace always.

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

May 14, 2021

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