Acting Detective Anton “Anthony” William Tekulve | Cincinnati Police Department
Served: 16½ years
March 19, 1908 to July 9, 1924
Tony was born Anton William Tekulve on February 15, 1880 in Cullman, Alabama; the fifth of six children born to German immigrant and shoemaker, Johann (John) Bernard, and Indiana-born Maria “Mary” Anna (Kunst) Tekulve. Since marrying, Johann and Maria lived in Ohio, Indiana, and Alabama before finally settling back in Cincinnati. At an early age, Anton and his parents Americanized their Germanic names.
At 15, Tony joined his father and other Tekulve men in the wooden shoe making business. On October 2, 1901, he married Eva Magdalene Glaser. During his early twenties, he became a grill worker. By 1908, they were living at 2369 Centaur Street.
Tony joined the Cincinnati Police Department on February 4, 1908 as a Substitute Patrolman, more or less a probationary position which, on average, resulted in promotion to Patrolman in about six months. In little more than a month, on March 17, 1908, he was one of sixteen promoted to Patrolman.
Within a year he was assigned to be a Mounted Patrolman and one of the best pistol shots on the Department. On January 7, 1910 he came within one shot of besting Major J. W. Carroll for the first prize of a solid gold watch at a shoot in the City Hall Target Range sponsored by the Police Revolver Club.
During July 1912, Patrolman Tekulve competed with 79 other patrolmen for the rank of corporal and finished 18th, but not well enough to be promoted during the tenure of the list.
While not attaining the professional level of his cousin, Kent Tekulve, Patrolman Tekulve was also a member of the Cincinnati Police Baseball Team.
On June 20, 1921, Patrolman Tekulve’s son, William T. Tekulve, after serving a tour in the United States Army during World War I, also joined the Police Department and was assigned to District 6 in the Fulton District.
By March 1922, and perhaps years before, Patrolman Anthony Tekulve was appointed Acting Detective within the Fourth District. The Detective rank did not exist at that time, per se, so investigative officers were assigned as Acting Detectives until they were no longer effective. Officers attained this distinction based solely on merit and were often selected to handle the more complicated investigations and dangerous calls for service. News accounts indicate he and various partners were very active in the West End, especially in Prohibition enforcement.
After more than 21 years of marriage, Detective Tekulve’s wife contracted uterine cancer and died on April 15, 1922. She was buried from their home at 2155 Eastern Avenue. On November 22, 1922, Detective Tekulve married Alice Stratton.
On July 27, 1922, 29-year-old, Joseph Brady entered a West End store with purpose to steal two silk shirts. He was pursued by the owner, at whom he shot twice. Three officers, including Sergeant Elmer O’Neil, heard the shots and ran toward the would-be murderer. Brady pointed the firearm at the sergeant, and Detectives Tekulve and Harry Haaf tackled Brady, knocking the gun out of his hand. Brady was fined $500 and jailed for 30 days.
Three months later, Detectives Tekulve and William Dubach waded into a crowd who was ambushing a narcotics investigator at 415 Central Avenue, and disbursed it with no injury to the officers, though Detective Dubach lost his gold watch in melee.
During June 1923, Detective and Alice Tekulve moved into their new home at 737 Delta Avenue.
On June 29, 1924, at 4 p.m., Detectives Tekulve and Haaf responded to a report by Albert Richmond that men armed with revolvers were causing problems at 670 Carr Street and Barrel Alley. Upon their arrival, Henry Brown (45) and Samuel Bromwell, AKA John Henpeck (38) pulled revolvers and Brown began shooting the officers. He fired six shots striking Patrolman Haaf in the lower right chest and Detective Tekulve in the jaw and neck and the right forearm. Detective Tekulve quickly and accurately returned fire and struck Brown in the arm and Bromwell in the head. Bromwell never got a shot off. Detective Tekulve, unable to continue, gave his revolver to Richmond and told him to capture a third man, Fayette Cautherin; which he did.
Patrolman Haaf was rushed to the Seton Hospital by private conveyance. From there Patrol 2 removed him to General Hospital. Patrol 4 rushed Detective Tekulve to General Hospital. Patrol 1 transported Bromwell and Brown to General Hospital.
Bromwell died the next day on June 30, 1924. Brown’s wound to his left arm was not serious.
On July 3, 1924, Brown appeared for his preliminary hearing. Both officers were listed in serious condition.
On July 8, 1924, Patrolman Tekulve suffered several hemorrhages and lost a lot of blood. The next day, ten days after the incident, on July 9, 1924 at 4:15 p.m., he died from hemorrhage and sepsis resulting from his wounds, becoming the third Fourth District officer murdered in two years; including Patrolmen William Bond and William Klump.
He was predeceased by his first wife, Eva Magdalena Tekulve. Detective Tekulve was survived by his second wife of 19 months, Alice (Stratton) Tekulve; children, Cincinnati Patrolman William T. (Helen) Tekulve (25), Stella E. (Erwin W.) Bertelsmann (21), and Ralph Richard Tekulve (18); and siblings, Rose Edwards, Mary Lenorand, Bernard Tekulve, and Frank Tekulve.
His funeral was held from his residence on July 12, 1924 beginning at 8 a.m. Pallbearers included fellow officers, Peter Schaedle, Albert Wiese, Joseph Lauman, and William Dubach. A funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Rose Church on Eastern Avenue. He was buried in Spring Grove Cemetery on July 12, 1924, at 11 a.m.
On July 3, 1924, Brown pleaded guilty at this preliminary hearing to shooting Detectives Tekulve and Haaf. Municipal Court Judge Eyrich bound him over to the Grand Jury under a $30,000 bond. Cautherin was held as a material witness under a $5000 bond.
After Patrolman Tekulve’s death on July 9th, one of Brown’s charges was upgraded to First Degree Murder. Judge Eyrich ordered him held without bond. The Hamilton County Grand Jury, on July 30, 1924, returned an indictment for First Degree Murder of a Police Officer.
On September 23, 1924, a jury was empaneled to hear the case against Brown for the murder of Patrolman Tekulve and Shooting to Kill Patrolman Haaf. Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys Nelson Schwab and Dudley M. Outcalt prosecuted the cases. Brown was defended by attorneys James G. Stewart and Edwin Becker. The cases went to the jury about noon on September 27th. The next day they returned a verdict of guilty on both counts.
Ohio law had been revised to remove from the discretion of the judge and jury the option of substituting a prison sentence for a death penalty for the killing of a police officer. On October 4, 1924, Judge Thomas H. Darby sentenced Brown to death, in accordance with the new law.
Brown was electrocuted on February 20, 1925; less than 8 months after he murdered Detective Tekulve.
On July 3, 1924, Detective Haaf was listed in serious condition. On July 9th, his condition was still serious. On July 10th, his condition was listed as grave. But Patrolman Haaf survived his wound and returned to work four months later during November 1924. He remained on the Cincinnati Police Department less than one year thereafter.
Detective Tekulve’s son, Patrolman William Tekulve, continued to serve in District 6, Central Station, and District 4 for another 31 years retiring in 1954.
His wife, Alice, twice widowed, did not remarry. She worked as a clerk, then a nurse, and retired. She lived to 91 years old, dying in Madison State Hospital, in Madison, Indiana on September 12, 1974, fifty years after her husband.
A few great-grandchildren survive them, as well as eleven great-great-grandchildren include Todd Wiegele, Michael Wiegele, Laura Wiegele, Melissa Moore, Lindsay Wiegele, Zachary Wiegele, Tyler Tekulve, Shelby Tekulve, Julie Jett, Brian Jett, and Timothy Jett.
If you know of any information, artifacts, archives, or images regarding these officers or incident, please contact the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum at Memorial@Police-Museum.org.
© This narrative was further researched and revised on May 18, 2022 by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society President, with research assistance from Cincinnati Police Administrative Technician MaryLou Berning, Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society Board Secretary. All rights are reserved to them and the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society.