Patrolman William Bond | Cincinnati Police Department

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

By 1924, Patrolman Bond had served the citizens of Cincinnati 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 before retirement, he requested and was granted a transfer back to patrol. He never made it to retirement.

 

INCIDENT

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. 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.

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

 

DEATH

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 Mrs. Bond 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. He was buried at 3:15 p.m. in Spring Grove Cemetery. 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 Section 105, Lot 63F, Spaces 1 to 3.

 

JUSTICE

Before he died, Patrolman Bond identified Belsher as his assailant. Mr. Regner also testified to that effect. Even Belsher admitted to Detectives Schaefer and Diers and Sergeant O’Neill that he shot Patrolman Bond. Belsher was defended by then new and now 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.

If you know of any information, archives, artifacts, or images regarding this officer or incident, please contact the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum at Memorial@Police-Museum.org.

© This narrative was last researched and revised on May 5, 2014 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 Museum.