Served: 10 years
April 7, 1926 to June 25, 1936
Patrolman Robbins, 1339 Main Street, assigned to the Downtown Traffic Squad, was off duty at 10:40 p.m. on June 25, 1936 when he and his fiancée, Beatrice Gertrude Brown, 1621 Fairfax Avenue, parked on Fulton Avenue just inside Eden Park to look at a house that Miss Brown’s mother was considering purchasing. As he did two men walked up on the passenger side of the car and asked for a match, then brandished firearms and ordered them to, “stick ‘em up or we’ll fill you full of lead.” Patrolman Robbins reached for the dash compartment in which he had placed his duty revolver. One of the robbers pointed his handgun at Patrolman Robbins’s head and said, “Don’t try that. We know what you’re after. Come out of there with your hands empty.” But, Patrolman Robbins, lunged out of the vehicle unarmed, pushed Miss Brown to safety, and fought the two men. Suddenly, two gunshots rang out and Patrolman Robbins slumped to the ground, hitting his head on the curb. Miss Brown went to Patrolman Robbins and the robbers went to Miss Brown and took her purse from her. They then got into the car and as they left one yelled back, “You better stay there and hold him or we’ll fill you too!”
For the next twenty minutes, Miss Brown scrambled to find help and finally waved down a passing motorist, Dr. Verle Kitzmiller. Dr. Kitzmiller found a phone and called the police at 11 p.m. and then went to Patrolman Robbins, finding he had already succumbed to a bullet wound that entered his right back and exited his left arm pit. His body was taken to General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
A blood-spattered coat, apparently purchased in Charleston, West Virginia, was found at the foot of Walter Street. The stolen car was also found on Walter Street near Gilbert Avenue at 5:30 a.m., the next morning, June 26, 1936. Miss Brown’s purse and the car were looted. The killers total take in the Robbery were Patrolman Robbins’s revolver and $7.
Alonzo Thompson, 17, and Francis John Keegan, 18, were arrested, the latter in Charleston, West Virginia. They were both charged with and convicted of 1st Degree Murder. Thompson was sentenced to Life Imprisonment. His charge was commuted to 2nd Degree Murder thirty years later on October 16, 1966. He was granted parole during December 1966. Keegan was sent to the penitentiary and later transferred to the Lima State Hospital as insane and was still incarcerated during December 1966. Their current status is not known.
Patrolman Robbins’s father ordered his body returned home to New River, Tennessee for burial at the Slick Rock Cemetery on June 28, 1936.
If you have information, artifacts, archives, or images regarding this officer or incident, please contact the Museum Director at Director@police-museum.org.
This narrative was researched and revised on June 26, 2010 by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer. The photograph was donated to the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum during 2014 by Cincinnati Police Specialist Oda Marcum (Retired). All rights are reserved to them and the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society.