Memorial to George D. Jones, Jr.
End of Watch: March 24, 1973
Rank: Officer Badge No. 1260
Age: 31 Years of Service: 3
Location of Death: 2428 18th Street, SE
Duty Assignment: 7th District
Officer George Jones was shot and killed when he and his partner responded to a call for assistance at 2428 18th Street, SE. Upon arrival, the officers encountered an estranged husband armed with a shotgun. As Officer Jones attempted to push the shotgun aside the man fired it, striking Officer Jones in the stomach. Officer Jones’ partner returned fire and killed the suspect. Officer Jones succumbed to his injuries the following day.
Officer Jones had been with the department for three years. He was survived by his wife Opal and his 3-year-old daughter Geopal.
Articles from the Washington Post – transcribed by Dave Richardson, MPD/Ret.
THE SHOOTING DEATH OF OFFICER GEORGE D. JONES ON MARCH 24, 1973
WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED MARCH 19, 1973, PAGE C1
Pentagon Aide Is Slain After Shooting Officer
A former Pentagon administrator was killed by police in his Southeast Washington home last night after he shot and seriously wounded a policeman called there by his wife, police reported.
Police said that the shooting incident that occurred at about 8:30 p.m. at 2428 18th St. SE in the middle-class Fort Stanton Park neighborhood appeared to stem from a domestic quarrel.
The dead man was identified as Bercher S. Hayman, 52. Fellow employees said he retired last December as a GS-12 shift administrator in a Navy Department computer office. A GS-12 job pays between $16,682 and $21,686.
Since retiring from the Navy Department post, Hayman has joined the Pentagon Credit Union in a data-processing post, former colleagues said.
The wounded policeman, George D. Jones, of the seventh district, was reported undergoing surgery at Cafritz Hospital earlier today for a shotgun wound in the lower abdomen.
Jones, a member of the force since November 1969, was reported in “guarded” condition at 12:30 a.m., about 2 ½ hours after the surgery began.
Jones, who lives in Maryland, is married and has a 3-year-old daughter.
As pieced together from still incomplete accounts provided by police officials, investigators and neighbors, the shooting incident began last night when police received a call from Mrs. Hayman about 8:15 p.m.
Described by neighbors as about 30 years old. Mrs. Hayman asked a policeman come to her house while she collected her clothing and moved out.
Officer Jones and a second policeman, Officer Samuel R. Miller, a veteran of 2 ½ years on the force, reached the house at about 8:30 p.m.
Soon after the policemen entered, Hayman confronted them with a shotgun, pointing it at Officer Jones stomach.
Jones tried to grab for the gun, but he was shot in the lower abdomen.
Officer Miller shot and killed Hayman with his service revolver.
Mrs. Hayman and the couple’s two young daughters were reported to have been in the house at the time of the shootings.
According to neighbors and relatives in the generally quiet section of a single family houses, Mrs. Hayman was the dead man’s second wife.
They said that he and his first wife had a grown daughter who lives elsewhere in Washington, and that the two children in the house were Trina, 9, also a daughter of the first marriage, and Wanda, 13, Mrs. Hayman’s daughter by a first marriage.
A neighbor, Napoleon Williams, called Hayman a “fine peaceable man.” Williams and Hayman yesterday had visited Oxon Hill, where Hayman was looking for a new house.
Hayman, a Pittsburgh native, served in the Army in Europe during World War II, according to relatives.
WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED MARCH 25, 1973, PAGE B1
Policeman Dies Of Gun Wound
A D.C. policeman died yesterday of gunshot wounds received Sunday night when he answered a call to a domestic quarrel in a Southeast Washington house.
The dead officer was George D. Jones, 31, a Washington native and a member of the force since November, 1969. He is survived by his wife and a 3-year-old daughter, who live in Maryland.
Jones was shot once in the lower abdomen after responding to a call at 2428 18th St. SE. According to police, he was met there by Bercher S. Hayman, 52, a former Pentagon administrator, who was carrying a shotgun.
Hayman pointed the shotgun at Jones, who was attempting to push it away when it discharged, police officials said. Hayman was then shot to death by Jones partner, Samuel R. Miller.
Jones was taken to Cafritz Hospital and underwent several hours of surgery. He had been listed in guarded condition and died there at 7:55 a.m. yesterday.
Capt. Marty Tapscott, Jones supervisor in the seventh police district for the past year, said the slain officer was “hard working and industrious. He was one of the better officers I had.”
Acting police chief Maurice J. Cullinane, ordered flags at police stations flown at half-staff until after the funeral. Funeral arrangements are incomplete.
Police officials said evidence concerning the incident will be presented to a grand jury, a normal procedure any time a policeman is involved in a shooting.
Officers Jones and Miller were called to the house by Hayman’s wife, who asked them to help her collect her clothing and move out. Mrs. Hayman and two young daughters were in the house at the time of the shooting, about 8:30 p.m. Sunday, police said.
Police said Officer Jones was the first D.C. policeman killed in the line of duty since Dec. 2. On that day, Officer Ronnie W. Hassell was struck by a hit and run driver while on scooter patrol at 29th and M Streets NW.
WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED MARCH 25, 1973, PAGE B1
Wealthy Suffer Along With Poor
The heavy-set woman with a warm, expressive face, leaned forward in her chair and turned to raise the sleeve of a yellow cardigan sweater, revealing a bruised arm to an employee of the U.S. attorney’s office.
“I’m, I’m just bruised and hurt so bad—I can show you my arm,” she said. There were tears in the corner of her eyes, and a tone of pain and despair in her voice.
“My husband beats me up. He beats me every time he gets drunk. He comes in from work…all drunked up, and I just can’t stand it any longer.”
The woman is one of countless women, and men, who are verbally and physically assaulted every day in the District in what police and court officials call “intra-family” disputes.
Discussions with participant in the fights, psychiatrists, judges, police and prosecutors, show that such disputes:
* Occur among the rich as frequently as they occur among the poor, but the rich are more reluctant to report them than are the poor;
* Are potentially fatal to the policemen who attempt to quell them; for that reason, among others, police dislike handling them;
* Take up an inordinate amount of police time but result in few arrests.
However, there are no statistics on the number of intra-family assaults and disputes because police do not keep statistics on the problem; only a small percentage of the incidents is even reported to police, and many incidents that are reported do not result in formal police action.
The assaults grow out of quarrels between husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters and boyfriends and girlfriends. They may never escalate beyond the screaming stage, or they may end when one of the participants kills the other.
While police officials say their statistics on the subject are in very rough form, they state firmly that about 10 per cent of the 1972’s, 245 homicides began as domestic quarrels.
Experts agree the fights generally involve either alcohol, disputes over money (or lack thereof) or jealousy.
Anything may touch the fights off—in the case of the woman in the yellow sweater, her husband apparently was enraged by her talking on the telephone when he was trying to reach her.
Some D.C. policemen interviewed who work in high-density, lower income, residential areas estimate that as many as 80 per cent of their scout car runs are in response to calls from persons assaulted during domestic disputes or come from persons disturbed by the noise of fights.
In addition, the FBI reports that in the period from 1962 through 1971, 101 policemen in the U.S. were killed responding to disorderly calls—many of which involve intra-family disputes –making such calls the third leading killer of policemen, ahead of riots, snipers and traffic stops.
Just yesterday, D.C. policeman George D. Jones died from a shotgun wound he suffered March 18 when he and his partner responded to a domestic dispute.
But prosecutors, when requested to issue warrants for arrest, are loath to do so in intra-family cases, because the person who was assaulted often refuses to testify when the case is brought to trial.
“You come in, and suddenly you’re the focus” of the fight, said Capt. G.A. Greggs, the sixth police District watch commander on a recent Friday evening. “They take out their feelings against their husband or wife on the police officer. Later they regret it,” said Greggs, but by then an officer may be dead.
Assistant Chief O’Bryant, who directed police training for several years, said a domestic call is “risky” for police. “Tempers are hot, the adrenalin’s up. Sometimes a policeman stepping in will get it from both sides,” he said.
“If a person’s getting beaten, he wants someone to step in,” said O’Bryant, “but after that, he doesn’t want anyone interfering in his business.”
While most persons think of domestic fights in terms of disputes between husbands and wives, police and court officials say that many of the problems stem from fights between parents and children, as was the case with a call responded to by sixth district scout cars 47 and 48 very early on a recent Saturday morning.
The lights were on inside the ground floor of the fairly modern, two story brick house, which, at 2 a.m., singled it out from the row of identical houses to which it was attached.
Officer D.L. Dillinger stood in the living room of the house listening and watching as Officer Larry S. Hester attempted to settle a dispute between a woman and her 19-year-old son.
The woman told police that her son, who was not living in the house, had insisted upon being allowed to enter the house and, when his mother refused, had broken a window.
“Why don’t you go someplace and spend the night?” Hester asked the young man. He accompanied the young man to the kitchen, where a phone call found the young man’s sister also unwilling to put him up.
“Come on. Let’s go outside “said Hester to the youth.
“Can’t I talk to my mama?” inquired the youth.
“You had time to talk. Come on outside, come on,” urged Hester.
“I didn’t have time to talk to her. I just had time to break the window.”
“You’ve been drinking,” the mother yelled at her son as Hester attempted to steer him toward the open door.
“Ya, I been drinking…”
A few minutes later, after further exchanges with the youth, Hester prepared to make an arrest, but on the advice of other officers who had arrived at the house, he called the precinct and an officer who had previous dealings with the youth came and persuaded the young man to leave quietly.
It is rare, say police, for such encounters to end in arrests. Unless one of the participants in an intra-family fight or any fight for that matter, has physical proof of his complaint, such as a bloody nose, police who did not witness the altercation are powerless to make an arrest. All they can do is advice the complaining party to seek an arrest the next day.
But prosecutors, when requested to issue warrants for arrests, are loath to do so in intra-family cases, because the person who was assaulted often refuses to testify when the case is brought to trial.
“Sometime when you arrive on the scene, they’ve already had their little fight. All you can do is help them get a warrant,” said Officer Kenneth Ford. But “if we get on the scene and somebody’s bleeding, or there’s evidence somebody’s been hurt, then we make an arrest.”
“The hardest problem is in convincing (women). I can’t put the man out of the house for them. I can’t put a man out of his own house (unless there are grounds for an arrest),” said Ford.
“A lot of times we’ll try to get the kids involved. They’ll be crying and we try to show the parents what they’re doing to the kids by fighting.
“But these (fights) can develop into dangerous situations,” said Ford. “They can end up with the wife stabbing the husband, or either of them stabbing you. Often I leave a family argument and feel I’ve been completely useless,” said the 26-year-old three year veteran of the force.
However, many authorities agree with Assistant Metropolitan Police Chief Tilmon O’Bryant, who believes that the reason two persons give for arguing, or physically assaulting one another, is only a surface indicator of underlying difficulties.
The people involved in the disputes, are “giving expression to the great turmoil and frustration that is boiling inside of them and they don’t know how to handle it,” said Dr. Edgar Silverman, conciliation commissioner for the D.C. Superior Court. “Violence is their last resort.”
The vast majority of those persons involved in domestic violence in the District, who eventually come into contact with the courts or police, are poor blacks. Most officials contacted say they believe this is so because the bulk of the city’s poor are black.
O’Bryant, however, the first black ever to rise to assistant chief in the D.C. police department, believes certain racial factors play a part in the disputes.
“I think there would be more incidents (of domestic violence) among poor blacks than among poor whites,” said O’Bryant, because poor blacks are frustrated by the strictures of racism, in addition to the burden of poverty they share with poor whites.
While there is a common belief that such intra-family fights, especially those which develop into physical brawls, are confined to the lower socio-economic strata, the facts belie the belief.
D.C. Superior Court Judge Joyce Hens Green, who handled hundreds of domestic relations cases as an attorney, prior to her appointment to the bench, said she believes the fights to be as prevalent among the rich as among the poor. However, she said, the rich do not call the police, nor do they come to court seeking someone’s arrest.
“These people just don’t want any publicity that might be attendant to their home lives,” said Judge Green, so they don’t call the police. “They have to show good pictures of domestic bliss, and you receive a Christmas card showing everybody smiling at everybody, and you were the lawyer in the case and you know he has complained about her alcoholism and she complained about his running around with other women and played detective and followed him.”
So, as far as the police are concerned, intra-family problems are those of lower-income areas.
According to O’Bryant, instruction in handling domestic disputes is an integral part of the policeman’s training. Officer are even given sessions of psychodrama—play acting out the disputes—at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.
Yet despite the training, Officer Lewis White, who has been on the street for six months, said he feels as if he is interfering where he shouldn’t when he handles an intra-family call.
WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED MARCH 28, 1973, PAGE C2
Officer’s Hearse Led by Squad Car
Outside the church, in the police scout car they shared for thousands of miles of work and tight friendship, Bill Greiner waited for his partner “G.D.” But yesterday scout car 178 was decked in mourning—black crepe wrapped lamps and doors—and “G.D.”— Officer George D. Jones—traveled in another vehicle, a hearse.
Ten days ago, 31-year-old Jones, a married 3 ½ year veteran of the metropolitan police, was called with another officer to a family quarrel. Their intervention ended in a double tragedy when retired civil servant Bercher S. Hayman, 52, blasted Jones with a shotgun and was himself killed by Officer Samuel R. Miller police reported.
Jones died Saturday in Cafritz Hospital. He was buried yesterday with full military honors at the Lincoln Memorial Cemetery after a service attended by about 500 police officers in the Metropolitan Baptist Church, 12th and R Streets NW.
Officer Greiner—detailed to drive No. 178 ahead of his friend’s hearse—was wondering if things could have been different. “I was taking an extra day off and “G.D.” was working with another officer—an excellent guy.
“But we’d been together a year—good friends on and off the job—and we had a real rapport.
Neither of us was rookies and it was like we could read the other guy’s mind. Like if he made a move, I automatically made a countermove. Maybe the two of us could have worked a different deal—you have to wonder if it could have been different. I still can’t believe George is gone.”
The pounding of feet on the church’s creaky wooden staircase went on as though it might never stop. A staunch less flow of police, the shields bearing a black bar, filed into the pews—honoring Jones in death as they would have supported him in life.
In the intimacy of a private ceremony shared only with the dead officer’s widow Opal, his 3-year-old daughter Geopal and his friends and relatives, they were not reluctant to let their feelings show. In their uniforms, their guns and their determination to honor the memory of a colleague they were united. The faces were grim, or soulful or openly sorrowing.
Chief Jerry V. Wilson called it “brotherhood,” and so it seemed to be. In the church the ranks of dark-blue sat in a shoulder-to-shoulder shield round the family mourners. The heavily-veiled widow was surrounded by a protective and attentive escort of senior officers. Jones flag-draped casket was borne from the church by four officers and passed a saluting phalanx of hundreds more.
Chief Wilson said, “Our brother went forth to do his duty and unlike his fellow officers he failed to return. He went to the assistance of a citizen and died carrying out his duty.”
When the mourners had left the cemetery, Capt. Marty Tapscott, Jones watch commander, stood alone on the sunny hillside by the mound of flowers. In his fingers he was absently twirling a single red carnation. “It’s been bad. I don’t ever want to go through that again,” he said.