Memorial to Jessie L. Taylor

End of Watch: May 1, 1931
Rank: Officer, Badge No. N/A
Years of Service: N/A
Age: N/A
Location of Death: Thomas Circle, NW

 

Circumstance:

Officer Taylor was walking a footbeat at Thomas Circle, when he heard shots fired from the Chantacler Nightclub. As he ran up the steps he collided into the suspect who had just shot the club manager because he wasn’t given a table near the dance floor.  The suspect shot Officer Taylor twice in the chest, killing him. When the suspect reached the sidewalk, he committed suicide.

Biography:
Officer Taylor was assigned to the Second Precinct. He was survived by his wife, son and two sisters. He is buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery.

 

Articles from the Washington Post – transcribed by Dave Richardson, MPD/Ret.
THE SHOOTING DEATH OF OFFICER JESSE L. TAYLOR ON MAY 17, 1931. THE FIRST ARTICLE IS DEVOTED MOSTLY ABOUT THE WEALTHY OVERWROUGHT KILLER, WITH LITTLE CONCERN EXPRESSED FOR THE OTHER CIVILIAN VICTIM, OR THE SLAIN OFFICER AND HIS FAMILY.

WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED MAY 18, 1931, PAGE 1
Charles Garbett, Shot in Chantecler Tragedy, May Survive.

KILLER’S BODY SENT TO HOME FOR BURIAL
Family Blames Taut Nerves From Study; Girl Says Man Was Sober.
As Charles Garbett, manager of the Club Chantecler of Le Paredia Café, hovered between life and death at Emergency Hospital last night, authorities sought to piece together facts which would give some motive for the murder of a policeman, the shooting of Garbett and the suicide of Robert S. Montgomery, New York social registerite and member of a prominent New York family.

The only plausible explanation for the young man’s action came last night from an uncle in New York. He said that mental strain accompanying his third examination to become a certified public accountant had worn his nerves to the snapping point.

The young man had been employed by the firm of his father, which has a branch here, Lybrand, Ross Brothers, and Montgomery, during the months he had been in Washington preparing for the tests here which are traditionally rigorous.

Bands Drowns Out Shots.

The triple shooting took place early yesterday morning as the band at the night club blared out the strains of “You’re Driving Me Crazy.” The popular tune cut the noise of the shots, and couples kept to the dance floor as the tragedy was enacted on the landing of the second floor of the club.

Montgomery, witnesses told police, first appeared at the night club with Miss Norvell Munford, of Nineteenth street near S street northwest, Washington debutante, about 11 o’clock Saturday night. Some argument apparently arose over a table for the man and he and Miss Munford left the place, Miss Munford going to her home and Montgomery returning to his quarters at the Racquet Club.

The young man later appeared at the crowded club, argued with Garbett and then drew a 45-caliber automatic pistol from an arm holster.

Garbett cried: “Oh, no, don’t do that! Don’t shoot!” but Montgomery pulled the trigger and the night club manager collapsed to the floor.

Montgomery dashed toward the stairway and met Patrolman Jesse Taylor, of the Second Precinct, running up the stairs. The policeman had no chance to draw his gun. Montgomery felled him with two bullets under the heart and Taylor died almost instantly.

On reaching the street Montgomery fired two bullets under his heart and died before he reached Emergency Hospital.
The student was the son of Col. Robert H. Montgomery, accountant attorney, who makes his home in Greenwich, Conn., and has offices at 285 Madison Avenue, New York City. Col. Montgomery, secretary of the War Policies Commission, has been in Washington since March 6, having registered at the Shoreham Hotel on that date. His visit was in connection with his work with the commission.

Listed in Social Register
Both Col. Montgomery and his son are listed in the New York social register, and the younger Montgomery was named in the Boston social register, where he took a prominent part in the social life of that city in 1928 where he was connected with a branch of his father’s firm. In his pocket at the time of his death he carried a card, asking to have his name transferred to the register as a resident of Washington.

Col. Montgomery is professor of accounting and member of the administration board of the Columbia University school of business. He is a veteran of the Spanish-American War, and during the World War served as a colonel, being attached to the General Staff in Washington. He was a member and organizer of the War Department Board of Appraisers, representative on the price fixing commission on the War Industries Board, and chief of the price fixing section of the General Staff.

The younger Montgomery was a graduate of Princeton University, receiving a diploma in 1927. After his graduation from the university he lived for a time in Boston and was a figure in the gay social life.

Was Expert Marksman
He was connected with his father’s firm and was employed in The Boston branch until a few months ago, when he came to Washington to attempt the certified public accountants’ tests for the third time a few months ago. In Boston the young man resided in the Beacon Hill section and was a member of the University Club and of the Arlington Rifle Club.

He was regarded as an expert marksman by members of the rifle club and was equally adept with a rifle or pistol. While in Boston he was granted a permit to carry a pistol in 1928. This card was found on his body by Washington police, after the shooting, together with his driver’s permit.

Montgomery had been hard at his struggle to overcome the obstacies of his third certified public accountant’s test during the greater part of last week. He faced examination on Thursday, Friday and the day of the tragedy.

Miss Munford, who said that she met the young man for the first time that fatal Saturday night, said that he appeared distraught, and that he mentioned that he was worn and nervous from the strain of examinations, but that he did not tell her the nature of the tests.

Met Through Mutual Friend
Miss Munford said that she made Montgomery’s acquaintance through a mutual friend and that she had never seen him before Saturday night. She said that she had left the club and was at home before the shooting occurred. She said that when some one called her on the telephone shortly after 2 o’clock yesterday morning to tell her about the shooting she believed it was all a joke and would not credit the story.

Miss Munford, who is an attractive brunette, made her debut here about six years ago. She has spent much of her time in Europe, living in France for several years before she returned to Washington with her mother to make her home.
The family of Montgomery, according to Associated Press dispatches from New York, also believed that the strain of his C.P.A. examinations caused the young man to run amuck. He had twice failed them, it is said, and the family believed that he feared another failure.

An uncle, James M. Shaw, last night issued a statement on behalf of Col. Montgomery, after the young man’s father had returned to New York from Washington.

Observed No Bad Traits
“Never has anyone in the family observed any bad traits in the boy’s character,” Mr. Shaw declared, “and none was more shocked at this tragedy than I.

“Col. Montgomery last week noticed that his son was exhausted by his examinations in Washington and suggested that Robert take his apartment at the Shoreham Hotel for two months or more to rest.

“Naturally he did not know that his son’s nerves were at the snapping point.

“The examinations began on Thursday, and up to that time the young man had gone three days and nights without sleep. The fear that he might have lowered his nervous resistance. The only explanation we have is that his brain suddenly gave way.”

Young Montgomery was a member of the U.S. Army Reserve and it was apparently his service pistol which was used in the murder and suicide, Mr. Shaw said. Police found ten bullets in the pockets of his dress clothes when Montgomery’s body was examined at the hospital after the shooting. He had fired six bullets from the automatic during the firing at the night club.

Father Overcome by Grief
Col. Montgomery, apparently overcome by grief at the tragedy, denied himself to all callers yesterday in his suite at the Shoreham Hotel. He would not even talk to police, but friends of the family, including J. Marvin Haynes, local manager for the firm of Lybrand, Ross Bros. & Montgomery, acted for him.

These friends appeared at the hospital where Garbett is struggling valiantly against death and gave instructions that the night club manager was to have the best medical attention possible.

They appeared again at the second precinct station in an attempt to obtain young Montgomery’s personal effects—a suit to bury him in and other necessary things and while there intimated to police officials that Col. Montgomery desired to do everything possible for the family of Patrolman Taylor.

Taylor, who lived at 715 Madison Street, is survived by a widow and a son 16 years of age. The patrolman was 35 years old and had been a member of the force for six years, with an excellent service record.

Body Taken to New York.
Last night Col. Montgomery and friends took a sad journey back to New York with the body of the young man. Police formalities had been completed.

Coroner J. Ramsey Nevitt held that no inquest was necessary. He issued a certificate of murder and suicide in the two deaths and the body was released from the District morgue to a local undertaker for preparation for burial. Funeral arrangements for the young man have not been completed.
Officials at Emergency Hospital said last night that Garbett had a fighting chance for life. He was shot through the left lung and lost much blood before he was taken to the hospital, but a blood transfusion was performed yesterday morning and it is believed he will recover unless complications set in.
Funeral arrangements for Patrolman Taylor have not been completed. Capt. L.H. Edwards, metropolitan police personnel officer, yesterday ordered that flags at all police precincts throughout the city to fly at half mast until after the funeral.
In addition to his wife and son, Wayne, Patrolman Taylor is survived by one sister, Mrs. Florence Laughlin of Washington.

Garbett Given Quick Aid
Prompt action of an employee of The Washington Post probably saved Garbett’s life. Dr. Edwin W. Pritchett, who gave up the study of medicine for newspaper work, was at lunch in a restaurant near Le Paradia when the shooting took place.

He heard the two shots Montgomery fired at Patrolman Taylor and ran across the street to the entrance of the café. Before he arrived, Montgomery had turned the gun on himself. Dr. Pritchett said that he felt Montgomery’s pulse and found it very weak. He went into the entrance of the night club and found Patrolman Taylor mortally wounded on the steps.

Then someone from the café took him up to where Garbett lay. Dr. Pritchett stopped the flow of blood from Garbett’s wounds with a packing of gauze before the police and fire rescue reached the scene.

Patrolman Taylor’s service pistol is still missing. It was taken by someone at the scene of the shooting and a lookout was sent for it by police last night. Dr. Pritchett said that when he went into the night club some man had taken Taylor’s pistol was covering Montgomery with it as the young man lay dying on the street.

 

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED MAY 19, 1931, PAGE 3
NIGHT CLUB SUICIDE TO BE BURIED TODAY
Rites for Policeman Taylor Not Yet Set; Garbett Held Improving.
Two tragic funerals remain to mark the strange case of Robert S. Montgomery, 27, who early Sunday morning ran amuck at Le Paradis with a 45 caliber pistol, seriously wounding the manager of the place, slaying a policeman and then ending his own life.

One of the funerals will be held today from a fashionable New York hotel, and impressive rites will be said for young Montgomery, clubman and social registerite of New York and Boston. The obsequies will take place at the Hotel Lombardi, home of Mrs. E. Shaw Montgomery, the mans mother, and his sister, Miss Elizabeth Montgomery.

A time for the other rites has not been definitely set, but, through necessity, they will be extremely simple. The services will be said for Patrolman Jesse Taylor, of the Second Precinct, who met Montgomery on the steps of the night club, and who fell dead from two bullets dealt by the young man’s gun.

Widow Bowed by Grief.
The widow of the policeman, bowed by grief, has been unable to set a definite hour for the funeral, but the services will probably be held Thursday. The little family in Washington—Taylor’s widow, his son, Wayne, 16, and his sister, Mrs. Florence Laughton—are awaiting the arrival of a second sister, Mrs. Carrie Ringenberg, from Chillicothe, Ohio, before completing plans for the funeral.

Yesterday the widow mother, in company with Mrs. Anna Barker, who lives with her, visited Cedar Hill Cemetery to purchase a lot. They planned to have interment there.

Col. Robert H. Montgomery, father of young Montgomery, yesterday stated definitely from his home in New York that he had provided financially for the family of Patrolman Taylor. He declined to discuss the details of the arrangements. Mrs. Taylor said that she had heard nothing from the Montgomery family and that she knew of no arrangements for herself, her son or mother.

Plans To Seek Job.
She is faced with the problem of supporting herself, her son, and mother at their little home, 715 Madison Street, with the only funds in sight a $1700 insurance policy of the police department and $60 a month.

She plans to seek a job somewhere and her young son also was preparing to look for work., although it might mean abandonment of his hopes for an education. Wayne realizes the importance of an education but considers taking care of his mother more important than any amount of schooling.

Meanwhile, the third figure in the tragedy, Charles Garbett, the night club manager, was making a valiant fight for life at Emergency Hospital., and his attending physician, Dr. N. Norman Smiler, was optimistic over his chances for recovery.
Dr. Smiler said his patient rested the better part of yesterday and seemed much improved last night. Barring complications he has better than an even chance for recovery., according to the physician. Garbett was shot through the lung by Montgomery after an argument over a table at the Club Chantecler.

It was also understood that Col. Montgomery was prepared to care for Garbett’s expenses and had ordered the best of medical care for him, but those close to the night club manager said yesterday that they had no definite word of such arrangements.

The triple shooting took place just outside of the dance floor of the Club Chantecler early Sunday morning after young Montgomery had made his third visit to the place and had resumed an argument over his desire to be placed at a table near the dance floor.

Montgomery had been at the night club with a party of four earlier in the evening. The party left and a young woman who was with him went to her home. Montgomery is said to have gone to his quarters at the exclusive Racquet Club, from which he returned to the Club Chantecler. There he asked for a table near the dance floor, but was refused by Garbett on the ground that the place was too crowded.

The young man is said to have left and on his return to have resumed his argument with Garbett. When the club manager still refused to give him a table he wanted young Montgomery pulled the automatic pistol from an arm holster and shot Garbett.

As the man collapsed to the floor the young man ran toward the steps leading to the club. He met Patrolman Taylor entering the place and shot him twice., the bullets taking effect under the policeman’s heart.

On reaching the street Montgomery shot himself twice under the heart dying almost instantly.

Officials yesterday held the unofficial opinion that liquor and worry, the worry superinduced by the young man’s attempt to pass the severe tests for certified public accountants, caused the tragedy.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED MAY 20, 1931, PAGE 4
MANAGER OF NIGHT CLUB IS IMPROVING
Garbett Still Is Not Out of Danger; Montgomery is Buried in New York.
Marked improvement was noted yesterday at Emergency Hospital in the condition of Charles Garbett, manager of Club Chantecler, who was seriously wounded at the night club at Thomas Circle early Sunday morning by Robert Shaw Montgomery, New York social registerite, who killed himself, after slaying Policeman Jesse Taylor.

Garbett, although displaying remarkable recuperative powers, is not yet out of danger, however.

Funeral services for Montgomery were held yesterday afternoon in New York City at the Hotel Lombardi, home of his mother, Mrs. E. Shaw Montgomery, and his sister, Miss Elizabeth Montgomery.

Services for Taylor will be conducted at 2 o’clock tomorrow afternoon at the funeral home of Frank Geier’s Sons, 1113 Seventh Street, NW, with interment at Cedar Hills Cemetery.

Pallbearers will be six fellow policemen of the Second Precinct, including C.R. Bremmerman, James Lowery, A.E. Fredette, W.F. Sager, Lester Fox and H.H. Hodge. Honorary pallbearers will be all Second Precinct policemen off duty at the time.

Enraged because he twice was unable to obtain a table on the dance floor at the night club, Montgomery shot Garbett, and in fleeing from the club fatally wounded Taylor, who was in the act of mounting the steps to the second floor to answer an alarm. Montgomery then rushed outdoors and took his own life.