Served: 5 years
1925 to June 13, 1930
At 11:22 p.m. on June 13, 1939, Patrolman Schoo, of 526 Lindsey Street, Newport, was by himself when he called police headquarters from the call box at 3rd and Beech Streets. His partner, Patrolman Edward Buckingham, had gone with Patrolman Harry Derrick to check out a fight report at 3rd and York Streets. Patrolman Schoo boarded a Bellevue-Dayton street car and road to 3rd and Monmouth Streets. After speaking with a woman at 4th and Monmouth Streets, he walked to Ware and Kilpatrick’s garage at Fourth and Saratoga Streets and talked to employees Charles McCann and Lorel Dean.
He was last seen alive walking north on Saratoga Street with another man, then east on 3rd Street toward Washington Avenue. They stopped in front of 328 Washington and the other man stepped back a few steps, pulled a firearm out of his pocket and fired two or three shots at Patrolman Schoo while saying, “Now, damn you, I got you.” The gunman ran toward 4th Street and down an alley. Patrolman Schoo was found dead having been shot in the head and shoulder. His sidearm was still in his holster.
Patrolman Schoo left a wife, Missouri Schoo, and two stepsons, Clarence and Ferd. He was remembered in a Mass at Corpus Christi Church in Newport and was buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Southgate.
Newport Detective James Fuller directed the investigation. Investigators found two empty .45 caliber cartridges in an alley between Washington and Park Avenues. It was later determined that a .45 caliber had been used to kill Patrolman Schoo. They also found a straw hat near the scene. It contained a label indicating its origin as Champaign, Illinois.
Twelve days after the murder, on June 25, 1930, three men robbed a bank in Noble, Illinois, of $30,000. A posse pursued them and a few hours later cornered the robbers near Toledo, Illinois. In the ensuing gun battle, one robber was killed and two were wounded and captured. The wounded robbers were from Cincinnati. Papers in the dead man’s clothing indicated that he was Carl Besse.
Carl Besse had been a well-known, aggressive, and fumbling lawman working either for or in Campbell County. By 1929, at 24-years-old, he had already earned a reputation as “Campbell County’s Raiding Constable,” for rooting out and destroying slot machines, stills, and illegal stashes of liquor. But, in one instance, he shot himself in the leg while chasing some men who were escaping from a still raid. In another incident, he tried to pull over a car on River Road in Silver Grove and the car sped up. He fired a volley of shots into the car, but it turned out no one in the car was involved in any criminal activity; they thought Besse was a robber. Finally, when some slot machines had disappeared after one of his raids, Besse was indicted by a grand jury on fourteen charges. Sometime after the indictment, a charred body washed up on the shore of the Little Miami River near Elizabethtown, Ohio, and it was mis-identified as Besse’s.
Police began to back track Besse’s life from the time he was killed by police to his last known location in Campbell County. They found he had married a woman in Champaign, Illinois. He had also been involved in a holdup of the Pastime poolroom in Franklin, Ohio. The car linked to the poolroom holdup was found abandoned in Newport the day after Patrolman Schoo’s murder.
Detective Fuller theorized that after the poolroom robbery, Besse drove the stolen car to Newport to abandon it. While walking away from the car, Schoo probably saw Besse and Besse knew he could identify him.
All the witnesses were re-interviewed and all identified Besse as the man with Patrolman Schoo. A new witness identified Besse as the man who hijacked his houseboat for a trip across the Ohio River to Cincinnati after the murder.
The case was closed with Besse as the only known killer.
If you have informaiton, artifacts, or images regarding this officer or incident, please contact the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum at Director@police-museum.org.
This narrative was researched and revised on June 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.