Memorial to Charles R. Johnston

End of Watch: May 9, 1943
Rank: Detective Badge No. N/A
Age: 24
Years of Service: 16
Location of Death: 617 21st Street, NE

 

Circumstance:

Officer Charles Johnston was shot and killed while responding to a shooting call at 617 21st Street, NE.

The roommate of an off-duty officer had stolen the officer’s weapon and shot his wife several times. Officer Johnston was the first uniformed officer on the scene. He entered the house and as he looked around a corner the suspect shot him in the head.

The subject was apprehended at the scene. He sentenced to death and subsequently executed on December 14th, 1945.

 

Biography

Officer Johnston was assigned to the Traffic Division. He was survived by his wife and two children.

 

Articles from the Washington Post – transcribed by Dave Richardson, MPD/Ret.
THE SHOOTING DEATH OF OFFICER CHARLES RILEY JOHNSTON ON MAY 9, 1943. THE MURDER WEAPON WAS ANOTHER OFFICERS GUN WHO WAS ALLEGEDLY HAVING AN AFFAIR WITH THE KILLERS WIFE.
WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED MAY 10, 1943, PAGE B6.

Policeman Dies After Gun Battle
Plans were completed last night for an inquest this morning into the fatal shooting Saturday of Motorcycle Policeman Charles Riley Johnston, 25, of the Traffic Division.

He died at Casualty Hospital at 2:50 a.m. yesterday from two bullet wounds in the head inflicted by an enraged husband who allegedly shot and critically wounded his wife before Johnston sought to apprehend him.

The suspect, Monroe S. Neely, 37, a counterman, was held on an open charge last night and will appear before the coroner’s jury at 11:30 a.m. today at the District Morgue.

His wife, Mrs. Leola Harris Neely, 35, an employe at the U.S. Naval Magazine at Bellevue, D.C., remained in critical condition at Casualty Hospital last night. She was shot twice in the face and once in the chest.

Officer Suspended.
Johnston was shot with another policeman’s gun, a circumstance which brought about the suspension from the force of Pvt. Charles A. Brown, 33, attached to the Tenth Precinct. The shooting occurred at his home, 617 21st Street, NE.

Acting Chief of Detectives Robert J. Barrett, who suspended Brown; described the shooting affray as follows:
Neely and his wife, roomers at the Brown home, were in their room about 5:30 p.m., Saturday. Brown was cleaning furniture on the front porch and heard a shot. He went inside and upstairs to the second floor and the woman said: “Don’t come in. He’s got a gun.”

Brown said, according to Barrett, he went back downstairs, out of the house to neighbors and telephoned police. Private Johnston was the first to arrive.

Johnston Shot Twice.
Johnston entered the house, Barrett stated, and started up the stairs. Neely pointed a gun at him, and the officer fired one shot up the stairwell. Neely returned the fire, putting two bullets into Private Johnston’s forehead.

When the latter fell, Patrolman R.T. White, Ninth Precinct, was by his side and immediately opened fire on Neely. The latter threw down his gun and surrendered. It was after this that the officer found Mrs. Neely unconscious upstairs.

Brown said he could not explain Neely shooting his wife, that the couple were in good graces during the day. He said Neely obtained his (Brown’s) gun from the latter’s bureau in an upstairs bedroom.

Mrs. Neely recovered consciousness for a short time at Casualty Hospital last night and told Detective Sergt. Charles Carver that she and her husband had an argument over money.

Woman Near Death.
Questioned at Police Headquarters yesterday, Neely admitted he shot his wife once but that police bullets wounded her the other times. He shot her he said because of her alleged association with Brown. She was near death last night and doctors held little hope for her recovery.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED MAY 13, 1943, PAGE B1

Policeman Brown Dismissed As Outgrowth of Shooting
Police Pvt. Charles A. Brown, 33, of the Tenth Precinct, in whose home Motorcycle Patrolman Charles R. Johnston, 25, was shot to death last Saturday, was ordered dismissed from the Police Department yesterday.

Maj. Edward J. Kelly, superintendent of police, recommended the removal to the commissioners because of “gross neglect of duty.” The recommendation was approved late yesterday and made retroactive to the day of the shooting.

It was Brown’s home, 617 Twenty-first Street Northeast, that Monroe Neely, 37, a roomer, shot and seriously wounded his wife and then killed Johnston when the latter attempted to arrest him.

Investigation disclosed Private Brown left the house when the shooting started and failed to return until it was over.
Appointed to the force, November 9 last year. Brown still was serving a probationary period. The law provides that he may be removed from the force “for unsatisfactory service” without trial any time during the first year.

In the meantime, funeral services for Policeman Johnston were held at Hysong’s funeral home yesterday morning and his body was shipped to Waynesboro, Pa., for burial.

Mrs. Leola Neely, wife of Johnston’s slayer, remained in serious condition at Casualty Hospital. She was shot three times, in the chest and face. A coroner’s jury held Neely Monday in Johnston’s murder.

 

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED DECEMBER 15, 1945, PAGE 9.

Neely, Killer; Electrocuted In D.C. Jail
Monroe D. Neely, 36 years old, yesterday went to his death in the District Jail’s electric chair for the 1943 slaying of a policeman.

Monroe, who wounded his wife, twice before firing the fatal shot into Patrolman Charles R. Johnston in May of 1943, walked unassisted to the chair. He was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m., two minutes after 2000 volts of electricity had passed through him.

It was the jail’s first electrocution since Jarvis Catoe, was executed in January of 1943.

Monroe, after a hearty breakfast of ham and eggs, walked firmly from his cell to the death house, accompanied by the Rev. James L. Pinn of the Goodwill Baptist Church.

There were eight official witnesses, including five newsmen; Dr. James I. Boyd, deputy medical examiner of Prince Georges County; George E. Stokes, District prison record keeper; and Claude O. Botkin, superintendent of the jail.