Patrolman Robert H. Holmes

Patrolman Robert H. Holmes

New York City Police Department, New York

End of Watch Monday, August 6, 1917

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Robert H. Holmes

Patrolman Robert Holmes was shot and killed in a running gun battle with a burglar in Harlem.

Patrolman Holmes was standing on his post at the corner of Lenox Avenue and 139th Street in Manhattan when he heard four gunshots. He ran to the sound and surprised a burglar who was climbing out of a window at 68 West 139th Street.

The burglar had entered the apartment but was confronted by the homeowner. When confronted, the burglar fired four shots at the homeowner, missing him with each shot.

Patrolman Holmes chased the burglar down an alley, exchanging gunfire. The suspect entered a house at 14 West 138th Street and hid in a hallway. As Patrolman Holmes approached him, the suspect fired two shots, striking Patrolman Holmes in the head and face, killing him.

The suspect was arrested in Stamford, Connecticut, a few days later. Three New York detectives found a hat near the crime scene that belonged to the suspect. They traced the hat to a storekeeper in Stamford. He said he sold the hat to the suspect who lived in Stamford. The suspect was arrested, returned to New York, convicted of murder, and sentenced to prison.

Patrolman Holmes had served with the New York City Police Department for four years and was assigned to the 38th Precinct, the current day 32nd Precinct. At the time of his murder, he was one of only four black police officers serving with the agency.

He is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery at Maspeth, Queens County, New York. He was survived by his parents.


  • Age 29
  • Tour 4 years
  • Badge 9140

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Convicted of murder

foot patrol, shots fired

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We never forget! Thank you for your service.

A fellow Black Officer

February 14, 2023

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