Patrolman William Bond | Cincinnati Police Department

Age: 54
Served: 31½ years
September 10, 1892 to April 20, 1924

 

By the beginning of 1924, Patrolman Bond had served his community for 31 years. He had long since earned for himself an inside job at the Fourth District and served as Stationhouse Keeper. However, in his final year as an officer, he requested and was granted a transfer back to foot patrol. He never made it to retirement.

During the afternoon of April 20, 1924, Patrolman Bond was standing at Fifth Street and Freeman Avenue when he heard two gunshots a few blocks north of his location. He responded toward the direction of the shots and two witnesses advised him that two suspects were running north on Freeman Avenue and he continued his trek north.

Bond lost the trail at an alley on Baymiller Street, but a citizen, James Regner of 1027 Baymiller Street, showed him where the two ran up the rear steps to the third floor of 918 Richmond Street; and he pursued.

When Patrolman Bond got to the third floor, he found the two in the kitchen of an apartment and one of them, Wesley Belcher (24) of 653 Carr Street, was pointing a revolver at him. Patrolman Bond advanced on him demanding that Belcher give him the gun, but instead Belcher fired twice. The two bullets entered Patrolman Bond’s chest and abdomen. Patrolman Bond stumbled forward, returned one shot that missed, then grappled with Belcher for the gun. Mr. Regner, who had heard the shots, ran up the stairs to assist. The other man with Belcher, known only as “James”, left when Mr. Regner entered the room. Mr. Regner punched Belcher and wrestled the revolver out of his hand just as Patrolman Bond collapsed. He held Belcher at bay until Patrolmen Elbert, Hammel, and Brissie arrived and took him into custody.

Patrolmen Brockmann, Ebbers, Stath, and Von Dohre, at Clark Street and Freeman Avenue, arrested Oliver Tabor (22) of 732 Clinton Street, and Luther Foley (19) of 907 W. 9th Street. They were the suspected of firing the two shots that Patrolman Bond originally heard. Ironically, those shots were fired at Belcher and his accomplice.

Patrolman Bond was transported to General Hospital at 3:22 p.m. He requested his wife, Mary, be brought to the hospital, but died at 4:40 p.m.; two minutes before she arrived.

Besides his wife, Patrolman Bond left a widowed daughter, Belva Herzig. His funeral was held at 2:30 p.m. on April 24, 1924 at his residence at 588 Grand Avenue and he was buried at 3:15 p.m. Belva died six years later and was laid to rest next to her father. Mary lived to 75 and died in 1945. The three are buried together in Spring Grove Cemetery.

Before he died, Patrolman Bond identified Belcher as his assailant. Mr. Regner also testified to that effect. Even Belcher admitted to Detectives Schaefer and Diers and Sergeant O’Neill that he shot Patrolman Bond. Belcher was defended by the famous murder trial attorney, William Foster (Foss) Hopkins. In the ten years between 1918 and 1927, most cop-killers were being sentenced to death, but Hopkins managed to get a sentence of life imprisonment for Belcher.

The Hopkins Estate left to the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum his collection of weapons and other evidence involved in more than forty of his murder trials. One piece is the revolver issued to and used by Patrolman Bond. It and Foss Hopkins’s other mementos are on display at the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum.

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 last researched and revised April 14, 2011 by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society President. All rights are reserved to him and the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society.