Memorial to Russell W. Ponton
End of Watch: May 2, 1967
Rank: Officer Badge No. 2236
Age: 29 Years of Service: 6 years
Location of Death: Randle Circle, SE
Duty Assignment: Motorcycle officer, Traffic Division
Motorman Ponton was responding to an officer in trouble call, when an oil truck turned in front of him. Officer Ponton died from his injuries from the impact with the truck. The officer who had called for help was involved in a fatal shooting.
Motorman Ponton was married to Raye Ponton. They resided in a home in Arlington, VA. A policeman since April 17, 1961, Ponton had been assigned to motorcycle duty since November 1964.
Articles from the Washington Post – transcribed by Dave Richardson, MPD/Ret.
WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED MAY 3, 1967, PAGE A3
Officer Fatally Hurt On Way to Shooting
A Traffic Division policeman died yesterday in Washington Hospital Center of injuries suffered Monday night when his motorcycle collided with an oil truck while he was responding to a fatal shooting involving another policeman.
An inquest will be held today into the death of the shooting victim, 19-year-old Clarence J. Brooker, of 662 Kenilworth Terr. NE. He died in D.C. General Hospital about an hour after he was shot in a scuffle with 14th Precinct Policeman Pvt. William L. Rull, 22, who had arrested Brooker for disorderly conduct.
Fatally injured while going to Ruff’s assistance was Pvt. Russell W. Ponton, 29, who was thrown from his motorcycle in the collision at Minnesota Avenue and Randall Circle SE. He died about 5:20 p.m. yesterday.
Police said Ponton, who made his home at 700 N. Florida St., Arlington with his wife, Raye, was northbound on Minnesota Avenue for the shooting scene about 9:40 p.m. He collided with a Hess Oil Co. Truck driven by Wilbur W. Custer Sr, 49, of 7728 Ridge dr., Hyattsville, who was southbound on Minnesota and entering Randle Circle when the collision occurred.
A policeman since April 17, 1961, Ponton had been assigned to motorcycle duty since November 1964.
Police investigating the Brooker shooting said that neither Pvt. Rull, whose service revolver was discharged twice in the fight, nor the victim knew anyone had been shot until Brooker was examined at the 14th Precinct station house.
Coroner Richard Whelton said an autopsy showed death due to internal bleeding from wounds in the chest and lung. Police said the wound in Brooker’s upper right back did not bleed externally and wasn’t noticed until Brooker’s shirt was removed at the station house.
Pvt. Rull, who lost his nightstick, hat and tie in the battle in the 3900 block of Minnesota Avenue NE., was released after treatment in Washington Hospital Center for face and head cuts. A policeman since October 1965, Rull had been assigned to No. 14 since shortly after his appointment.
Police said Brooker was on probation after his release from jail in January of this year where he had served a sentence for assault and carrying a deadly weapon.