Served: 10¾ years
January 13, 1915 to October 20, 1925
On October 20, 1925, Adam Janser, a recent victim of a Burglary at his residence at 323 West Court Street, approached Patrolman Althoff as he patrolled his beat on Elm Street to advise him that he had found a man wearing his clothes. Patrolman Althoff, of 1902 Highland Avenue, followed him to the Lubin Theater at 140 West 5th Street where he arrested 21-year-old John Edward McKibben of 105 E. Liberty Street and a female companion, 21-year-old Elizabeth Andrews of 2455 Everglades Avenue.
Patrolman Althoff escorted the two to a callbox at 5th and Race Streets to call for a patrol wagon. As he opened the callbox, McKibben jerked himself free and began to run. Patrolman Althoff seized him and, as they returned toward the callbox at about 4:30 p.m. and in front of hundreds of shoppers and motorists, McKibben pulled a revolver from his overcoat pocket, pressed it to the officer’s side, and twice discharged it. Patrolman Althoff slumped to the ground.
McKibben and Andrews fled in different directions. Forty-two year old Joseph Lowar of 2580 Liddell Avenue tried to stop McKibben’s escape and McKibben shot him in the side.
McKibben then commandeered a car from George H. Feltman of 2221 Loth Street. Detectives William E. McCorkhill, William Luhn, and Henry Loewenstine saw and joined the pursuit and forced the car off the road. McKibben ran down VanHorn Alley between Mound and Clark Streets. Detective McCorkhill entered the alley and fired a shot at which time McKibben turned, pointed his weapon at the detective, then dropped it yelling, “I give up the fight.”
Witnesses, including Cincinnati Fire Department Lieutenant Frank Treinen, ran to Althoff and carried him to G & J Dinkelaker’s butcher shop at 109 West 5th Street. A patrol responded and carried him to the General Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Physicians advised that his heart was pierced by two bullets and that he was instantly killed. Lawer was also taken to the General Hospital with a wound to his side. He was treated and released to recuperate at home.
Patrolman Althoff left a wife of ten years, Florence Althoff, and a 2-year-old daughter. He was buried in Walnut Hills German Protestant Cemetery on October 23, 1925. Florence went to live with Patrolman Althoff’s parents and died six years later of a heart attack during gall stone surgery. We do not know how their 8-year-old, orphaned daughter fared.
After the murder, McKibben was taken to Detective Headquarters where he confessed to Detective Chief Emmett D. Kirgan, Lieutenants Seebohm and Wehking, and Sergeant Fricke; “I shot him because I did not want to be arrested. I guess I would have shot others if I thought I could have escaped.”
A jury convicted McKibben of the Murder, but recommended mercy and he was given a life sentence with possibility of parole. Four years later, during 1929, he contracted tuberculosis and, on November 24, 1935, at the age of 31, he died in the Ohio State Penitentiary of bilateral pulmonary tuberculosis, a collapsed lung, and chronic intestinal nephritis. He is buried in St. Joseph (New) Cemetery in Cincinnati; Section NEP, Lot 22, Part N, Range 22.
If you have information, artifacts, archives, or images regarding this officer or incident, please contact the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum at Director@police-museum.org.
This narrative was revised October 15, 2010 by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer, Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society President. All rights are reserved to him and the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society.