Served: 10¾ years
January 13, 1915 to October 20, 1925
Alan was born August 11, 1892. We know nothing of his life prior to the March 2, 1915 when he was appointed to the Cincinnati Police Department. By mid-1925, Patrolman Althoff was living with his wife and daughter at 1902 Highland Avenue.
On October 20, 1925, Patrolman Althoff patrolled his beat on Elm Street. Adam Janser, a recent victim of a Burglary at his residence at 323 West Court Street, approached Patrolman Althoff to advise him that he had found a man wearing his clothes.
Patrolman Althoff followed him to the Lubin Theater at 140 West 5th Street where Janser pointed out John Edward McKibben (21), of 105 E. Liberty Street. He was with a female companion, Elizabeth Andrews (21) of 2455 Everglades Avenue. Patrolman Althoff escorted the two to a callbox at Fifth and Race Streets to call for a patrol.
As he opened the callbox, about 4:30 p.m., McKibben jerked himself free and began to run. Patrolman Althoff seized him and returned toward the callbox. In front of hundreds of shoppers and motorists, McKibben pulled a revolver from his overcoat pocket, pressed it to the officer’s side, and twice discharged it. Patrolman Althoff slumped to the ground. McKibben and Andrews fled in different directions.
Joseph Lowar (42) of 2580 Liddell Avenue tried to stop him and McKibben shot him in the side.
McKibben commandeered a car from George H. Feltman of 2221 Loth Street. Detectives William E. McCorkhill, William Luhn, and Henry Loewenstine saw and joined the pursuit and forced the car off the road. McKibben ran down VanHorn Alley between Mound and Clark Streets. Detective McCorkhill entered the alley and fired a shot at which time McKibben turned, pointed his weapon at the detective, then dropped it yelling, “I give up the fight.”
Witnesses, including Cincinnati Fire Department Lieutenant Frank Treinen, ran to Althoff and carried him to G & J Dinkelaker’s butcher shop at 109 West 5th Street. A patrol responded and carried him to the General Hospital.
Lowar was taken to the General Hospital with a wound to his side, treated, and released to recuperate at home.
Patrolman Althoff was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. Physicians advised that his heart was pierced by two bullets and that he was instantly killed.
Patrolman Althoff was survived by his wife of ten years, Florence Althoff, and a 2-year-old daughter. He was buried in Section 32, Lot 67, Grave E at Walnut Hills German Protestant Cemetery on October 23, 1925.
McKibben was taken to Detective Headquarters where he confessed to Detective Chief Emmett D. Kirgan, Lieutenants Seebohm and Wehking, and Sergeant Fricke. “I shot him because I did not want to be arrested,” he said. “I guess I would have shot others if I thought I could have escaped.”
A jury convicted McKibben of the Murder, but recommended mercy and he was given a life sentence with possibility of parole. Four years later, during 1929, he contracted tuberculosis and, on November 24, 1935, at the age of 31, he died in the Ohio State Penitentiary of bilateral pulmonary tuberculosis, a collapsed lung, and chronic intestinal nephritis. He is buried in St. Joseph (New) Cemetery in Cincinnati; Section NEP, Lot 22, Part N, Range 22.
Florence went to live with Patrolman Althoff’s parents and died six years later of a heart attack during gall stone surgery. We do not know how their orphaned daughter fared.
If you know of any information, artifacts, archives, or images regarding this officer or incident, please contact the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum at Memorial@Police-Museum.org.
© This narrative was revised on December 10, 2011 by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Museum Executive Director. All rights are reserved to him and the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum.