OFFICER DANIEL SHEHAN
WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED OCTOBER 16, 1899, PAGE 4
BACK AFTER TWELVE YEARS.
THE “GHOST ROBBER” RETURNS FROM A LONG INVOLUNTARY VISIT.
DARING WASHINGTON CRIMINAL PAYS HIS RESPECTS TO POLICE WHO ARRESTED HIM—NOTED FOR TERRORIZING METHODS AND DEPREDATIONS.
John Jackson, alias Oscar Thorton, better known to the citizens of Washington as the “ghost robber,” is in town again. This information will doubtless startle those people who recall the many crimes committed by the Negro prior to the time he was captured by Detective George Boyd, over twelve years ago, after he had shot Police Officer Daniel Shehan. Jackson was sentenced for twenty years for his crimes at that time, but was released for good behavior after serving twelve years and four months. He immediately started for Washington, and was beating his way with a crowd of tramps, when he was arrested just outside of Baltimore. He was sentenced to thirty days for vagrancy, and after being released, walked here.
Jackson was one of the most daring criminals in Washington during his time, and kept the police of the city on the alert. He was in the nature of a phantom, traveling alone. Most of his work was done in the early morning, and it was his custom to punch a hole in the top of the basement window, and in this way secure an entrance. Very little of value was stolen by him, but it was usual for him to eat his meal at the house, and he was even known to cook victuals and enjoy a feast.
He was well known to the officers of the Second Precinct, as it was in this territory that he did most of his work. He would rob three or four houses a night. Seldom a day passed that reports were not made of people who had suffered from this marauder. In case he would leave a note behind, warning the occupants of the house to be sure and leave something for him next time.
Early in 1887 he caused terror among citizens, and special orders were given the police to be on the alert. Officer Daniel Shehan saw the fellow coming out of a house on R street, between Ninth and Tenth streets northwest. It was close by the engine house, and a fight took place between Officer and robber, each using his pistol. The policeman was shot in the hip, and Jackson escaped.
Officer E.J. Duvall, now in charge of the patrol wagon at the Second Precinct, was at that time a sergeant, and was familiar with the workings of the Negro. With Officers Boyd and Brice he was walking along New York avenue near New Jersey avenue, when the Negro was next seen. Boyd gave chase, and the fugitive was captured after jumping several fences. Jackson was brought up on three charges of housebreaking, and one of assault with intent to kill Officer Shehan, and was sentenced to twenty years in the penitentiary. Other cases pending against him were not pushed.
Jackson called upon the police of the Second Precinct yesterday afternoon, and notwithstanding his long confinement he has changed but little. He has lost his upper teeth, and assigns this to eating so many sweets during his early morning escapades. At the time he was sentenced he was twenty‑eight years of age. Jackson stated that he had served eight years before his last term. He says he has reformed now, and intends to live a better life. A watch will be kept on him by the police, however, to see that he keeps his promise and does not repeat his old tricks.