Served: 3 years
1935 to September 20, 1938
On September 18, 1938, Patrolman Cunningham encountered Lee Brandon in a drunken state and, rather than arrest him, he took him home. He advised Brandon to stay home and not come back to town lest he be arrested.
Later that night, Patrolman Cunningham encountered Brandon sitting on the steps in front of Fire Company Number One. As Patrolman Cunningham approached, the man suddenly pulled a handgun and opened fire striking Patrolman Cunningham in the abdomen. He was rushed to Christ Hospital in Cincinnati.
Two days later, on September 20, 1938, with Police Chief Louis Griffith and Mayor Arthur Ritzmann at his bedside, Patrolman Cunningham died.
Patrolman Cunningham left a wife, Ruth. As a veteran of World War I, he was buried with full military honors in the Greendale Cemetery, Dearborn County.
Brandon was charged and convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
This narrative was revised September 15, 2012, by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (RET) with research assistance provided by Chris McHenry of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, and Cincinnati Homicide Detective Edward Zieverink (RET). All rights are reserved to them and the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society. If you know of any information, artifacts, archives, or imagesof this officer or the incident or desire to know the exact location of the officer’s grave, please contact the Museum Director at Director@police-museum.org.