Police Officer James Francis Kane

Police Officer James Francis Kane

Philadelphia Police Department, Pennsylvania

End of Watch Friday, June 5, 1959

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James Francis Kane

Officer James Kane was shot to death while walking his beat in North Philadelphia in 3700 block of North Sydenham Street by two brothers he caught stealing milk off doorsteps.

The two brothers, ages 22 and 24, stole a car and led police on a multi-state pursuit that ended in Middleboro, Massachussetts, 13 days later. On day 10 the brothers robbed a liquor store in Middleboro that ended in a shootout with police. They fled into a nearby woods where they were hunted for three days in what became the largest manhunt in Massachussetts' history. On the third day they shot at a state trooper who returned fire killing one brother. The older brother surrendered.

Found in the trunk of the stolen car at the liquor store, was the half starved 49-year-old owner, who the suspects tied up and forced to stay in the trunk the entire ten days. During those ten days the brothers had robbed several businesses at gunpoint. During one of their robberies they shot and seriously wounded a man who was the father-in-law of one of the state troopers involved in the manhunt.

The other brother was tried; convicted of Officer Kane’s murder, and sentenced to death. His sentence was later commuted to life. As of 1999 he was in prison.

Officer Kane was a U.S Navy veteran of WWII and had served with the Philadelphia Police Department for two years.


  • Age 33
  • Tour 2 years
  • Badge 5367
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .38 caliber
  • Offender One killed, one sentenced to death

Most Recent Reflection

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Rest in peace Officer Kane.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

April 23, 2023

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