THE SHOOTING DEATH OF OFFICER SAMUEL C. HAYDEN ON FEBRUARY 27, 1921.
WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED FEBRUARY 28, 1921, PAGE 1
2 DEAD IN GUN FIGHT
Policeman Hayden Slain Trying to Capture Madman
CRAZED SHOOTING INJURES 2
T.L. Harriss, Killed, Recently Patient at St. Elizabeth’s
Suspect, an A.E.F. Soldier, Gun Toter for Some Time—Desperate Fusillade in Westminister Street House, From Closet of Which He Opens Fire on Police With Fatal Effect—Killed by Officers.
Crazed with bootleg whiskey and heavily armed, Twitty Lynwood Harriss, recently discharged from the St. Elizabeth’s hospital for the Insane, ran amuck in the streets of Washington yesterday morning, inflicting bullet wounds on two men, then shooting and killing Policeman Samuel C. Hayden, of the Eighth precinct, and finally was himself shot and killed, a few minutes after the fatal shooting Hayden, when trapped in a clothes closet on the third floor of his home at 948 Westminister street northwest by a squad of police.
Fight Waged With Fury
That the suspect did not succeed in killing more persons was due to the fearlessness of Capt. R.T. Bean and Policeman A.H. Cole, who, braving the fusillade of shots aimed at them, stood their ground and returned the suspects fire. Bullet holes in the door of the clothes closet showed with what fury the fight raged, and more holes in the walls and ceiling showed where the suspect, after being shot, continued to fire at the officers.
After disabling Harriss, Capt. Bean and Policeman Cole and George Davis carried Hayden, still alive, to the street and hailing a passing automobile took him to the Freedman’s hospital. He died en route. It was found that only one bullet had hit him. It had entered his head above the right eye and had come out in the rear of his head at the left. The bullet holes in his cap bore evidence of the path the bullet had taken.
Shoots Without Warning.
With Harriss’ death police have lost opportunity to find out what imaginary grievance caused him to start on his death-dealing spree. His first victim, Herbert Akers, of 2014 Vermont avenue northwest, was standing at Tenth street and Vermont avenue northwest when shot without warning. The bullet, steel jacketed as were all found on Harriss, smashed his left heel, inflicting a minor wound.
Brandishing the automatic over his head and shouting incoherently, Harriss took to his heels and did not stop until in front of 950 Westminister street, next door to his home. There he saw John Mills, 40 years old, standing in the doorway.
“You’re looking for some of it, too, are you?” demanded Harriss of Mills. Without awaiting a reply he fired at Mills. The bullet lodged in his shoulder. Harriss then walked into his home, took a position at the window in the front room and calmly awaited the coming of the police. He reloaded the weapon, locked the front door and toyed with the automatic.
Police in Hot Pursuit.
Hardly had he entered his home when the police at the Eighth precinct were hot on his trail. They learned his home address and, under the command of Capt. Bean, policemen were placed on guard at the front and rear of the house and one man on the roof. Leading the way Capt. Bean and Policeman Hayden, who was the “wagon man;” A.R. Cole and George Davis searched the lower floors of the house.
They met a man standing on the steps leading up to the third floor, who motioned to them that Harriss was barricaded in a room in the front of the house. The door was shut and the police prepared for a death grapple with the suspect.
Standing in a group just a few feet from the door of the room in which Harriss was thought to be hiding the police awaited the suspects first move.
It was not long in coming. The suspect, in fact, had taken refuge in a hall closet less than two feet distant from where the group of police were standing. Opening on a sudden the closet door, Harriss began firing.
Vaults Flight of Stairs.
Davis, who was unarmed, was directly in the path of the madman’s sight. Vaulting over a flight of stairs, he shouted a warning to Hayden, and as the latter turned to look a bullet crashed through his head.
Hayden fell against Capt. Bean, thus preventing the use of the captain’s gun, but Cole shoved his pistol against Harriss’ chest and emptied his gun. Capt. Bean also shot the latter several times, and though mortally wounded the suspect continued firing until a bullet struck him over the heart and tore a hole through it. He crumpled up and fell into the closet, the door closing.
Four shots as a precaution and certainty were fired through the door by the police and then, satisfied that Harriss’ gun had been stilled, the police carried Hayden from the house. Half an hour later they returned to the house and found Harriss lying in the closet dead. The body was taken to the morgue.
In Harriss’ coat pockets were found several boxes of cartridges. He had reloaded his weapon several times and one box was nearly empty. Harriss had been a member of the A.E.F., and one of his hands was deformed from shrapnel.
Ten Years on the Force.
“Sam” Hayden, the slain policeman, was appointed to the force in 1910. He served continuously in the Eighth precinct and was rated by his captain as one of the best men under his command. He was a typical “old school” policeman, and a man of his word, and his fearlessness was well known. He was unmarried and made his home at 1113 N street northwest. Hayden reported at the station house for duty yesterday an hour and a half before he was shot.
Harriss was released from the St. Elizabeth’s hospital in July of 1920. Six days later, it is said, he purchased the gun he used, and has been known to have carried it on several occasions.
Hayden’s body was taken to an undertaking establishment on Seventh street northwest. It will be moved to Baltimore, Md., today, and from there to the family home at Lodge, Westmoreland County, Va. Hayden is survived by two brothers and two sisters.