Officer William J. Kelly

Officer William J. Kelly

Jacksonville Police Department, Florida

End of Watch Wednesday, September 3, 1924

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William J. Kelly

Officer Kelly was shot and killed while attempting to arrest and take into custody some suspects at a brothel.

At about 3:15 pm Officer Kelly returned to a brothel on Cedar Street to make additional arrests after arresting a male and a female at the location. He had called for transportation from a nearby call box for the two he's arrested.

Upon returning to the house, he told the woman running the house to get ready to downtown along with some men on the porch he was also arresting. As he stood in the doorway, he was shot by someone he hadn't seen from a back room. As he tried to exit, he was shot twice more. He flagged down a passing car and despite the gun battle, the two men in the car stopped and picked up Officer Kelly and took him to St. Luke's Hospital. Both men were also seriously wounded. Officer Kelly died from his wounds two days later at 10:00 am.

The shooter fled and was captured in New York City on May 7th, 1925. He was returned to Florida, tried, found guilty of first degree murder, and sentenced to be executed. No record exists of whether he was executed.

Officer Kelly was survived by his expectant wife, daughter, father, two brothers, and sister.


  • Age 29
  • Tour 2 years, 5 months
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Monday, September 1, 1924
  • Weapon Rifle
  • Offender Sentenced to Death

Most Recent Reflection

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To fully appreciate the heroes of the present, we must recognize our heroes of the past. Your heroism and service is honored today, the 89th anniversary year of your death. I am priviliged to leave a tribute to you. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer who was murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered. Rest In Peace.

Phyllis Lasater Loya
mom of fallen Pittsburg (CA) officer Larry Lasater

April 28, 2013

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