Police Officer Dennis Bennington
Served: 9½ years
July 20, 1969 to March 6, 1979
Police Officer Robert Seiffert
Served: 8 years
February 28, 1971 to March 6, 1979
For several years prior to 1978 and decades thereafter, the Cincinnati Police Division deployed a Robbery Task Force to focus on the annual increase in robbery offenses during the Christmas holiday season each year. Traditionally, the better officers were assigned to the task force beginning the day after Thanksgiving and ending the day after Christmas. During 1978, Officers Bennington and Seiffert were assigned. As a part of that assignment, they investigated a violent armed robbery, identified the suspect, and signed warrants on 24-year-old Gregory Daniels of 2006 Vine Street. However, Daniels eluded efforts to locate and arrest him until after the task force was disbanded and the officers returned to their former assignments.
Months later, on March 6, 1979, at 1 a.m., Officer Seiffert saw a car driven by a man who he believed was Gregory Daniels. On a car-to-car radio channel, he notified Officer Bennington of his discovery and Officer Bennington agreed to respond to assist. Officer Seiffert pulled Daniels over on westbound Oak Street west of May Street. Bennington arrived eastbound on Oak Street and stopped directly across the street from the car.
As the officers approached the driver’s door, Daniels exited, pulled a revolver, pointed it at Officer Bennington, fired, and struck him in the middle of the chest, destroying the top of his heart and knocking him to the ground. Daniels then, while getting back into the car, fired over his shoulder at Officer Seiffert striking him in the head as he dove for cover behind the car. Officer Seiffert’s head struck the 10” curb breaking his neck.
Officer Bennington, though mortally wounded, got up, and drew his revolver. Daniels shot him again, but as Daniels pulled away, Officer Bennington fired several shots, striking Daniels multiple times in the head and killing him instantly. With his lifeless foot on the accelerator, the car sped into a steel utility pole near Reading Road. Daniel’s passenger, Sharon Johnson, FB25, also of 2006 Vine Street, was slightly injured by glass.
Officer Art Evans was the first officer to arrive at the shooting scene. Officer Bennington was immediately taken to Bethesda Oak Hospital (less than a block from the shooting). There was nothing they could do for him. He was bleeding faster than they could replnish his blood. Doctor Gonzalez pronounced him dead at 2:27 a.m. Police Officer Michael Broering transported him to the morgue.
Officer Seiffert was transported to University Hospital. His injuries were also fatal. Dr. Greiner pronounced him dead at 3:09 a.m. Police Officer Tom VonLeuhrte transported him to the morgue.
Officer Seiffert had been a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War. He had been given nearly no chance of surviving his tour of duty and was shot down twice. He was shot once, for which he was awarded the Purple Heart. Officer Seiffert was killed in Cincinnati doing no less honorable service to his community. He left a wife, Janet, and three children; Laura, Heather, and 1-year-old Robert. Though he would never know his father, Robert named his son Robert Thomas Seiffert in honor of his father. Officer Seiffert is buried in St. Aloysius Cemetery, Bridgetown, Ohio.
Officer Bennington was survived by his wife, Linda, two children, Tina and Tim, and his parents, Ruth and Robert. He was buried in Gate of Heaven Cemetery. Linda Bennington never recovered from the loss of her husband and within four years ended her own life. Orphaned, Tim and Tina were initially raised by their grandparents, Ruth and Robert Bennington; but Robert died three years later and Ruth six years later after that. Tim joined the Army Cadet Corps at the Millersburg Military Institute near Paris, Kentucky. Tina became a nurse. Both now live locally with spouses and children of their own.
If you have further information, artifacts, archives, or images of this officer, please contact the Museum Director at Director@police-museum.org.
This narrative was revised on June 27, 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.