Researched by  retired Det. Sergeant Dave Richardson

THE SHOOTING DEATH OF ROOKIE OFFICER RAYMOND C. LEISINGER ON AUGUST 28, 1924, AND THE RESULTING PLIGHT OF HIS BLIND WIDOW AND THEIR TWO CHILDREN

WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED AUGUST 29, 1924, PAGE 2

WIDE DRAGNET OUT IN LEISINGER KILLING; POLICE SEARCH CITY

Entire Force Seeking Auto Carrying Party Which Slew Policeman.

MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA ASKED TO AID IN SEARCH.

17 Policemen Have Been Killed in City; Widow of Dead Man is Blind.

Working ceaselessly until early this morning, a large force of headquarters detectives is scouring the city for those responsible for the death early yesterday morning of Policeman Raymond C. Leisinger, of the Second precinct.

Leisinger was shot and killed while he was crouching on the car fender of an automobile that was speeding east on I street, near North Capitol street northeast. He had leaped on the machine while it was moving slowly on North Capitol street near P, and had clung to it tenaciously as it sped down the first named street at a 50 mile clip. Why he boarded the machine is not known, but it is known that he fired several shots in the air in an effort to make the driver stop.

The police have a tradition to uphold in this case. No murderer of a policeman in this city has ever escaped. And there have been seventeen policemen slain since 1871. Sometimes it has required time to apprehend the murders, but they have always been apprehended.

Cleverest Detectives at work.

So it is that eight of the cleverest detectives at headquarters have forsaken sleep, and in some cases food, to run down the numerous tips that have been coming into the detective bureau. The two big detective bureau automobiles were speeding to and from headquarters all last night and this morning. Meanwhile every policeman in the city is keeping his eyes open for the murder automobile, and Maryland and Virginia authorities also are looking out for it.

Two or three men and one young woman were in the machine. The woman was wearing a pink dress and was riding in front with the driver. It is the theory of the police that Policeman Leisinger was shot and killed by a man in the rear seat.

More than a score of suspects were arrested by detectives and Policemen yesterday. Most were men and women who were known to have been riding in automobiles early in the morning. It was admitted at detective headquarters late last night that none of those arrested was in any way involved.

Real Tragedy in Killing.

In the death of Leisinger there is more real tragedy than there could possibly have been in any of the other sixteen cases. Certainly the family of Leisinger is less able to spare him than were the families of the other slain policemen.

Mrs. Leisinger is blind. Her heart is weak and she is otherwise in poor health. Raymond, 9 year old son of the dead policeman has a broken arm, suffered when he fell from a swing two days ago. These two and 11 year old daughter, Isabell, live with Mrs. Leisinger’s parents, Mr and Mrs J.A. Magruder, at 1841 Monroe street northeast.

Policeman Leisinger had only been a member of the police force two months. He was not a member of the Police Relief Association; therefore his widow will not receive the $1500 that would go to her if he had been a member. However, she will receive $60 a month for life from the government pension fund, and the two children will receive $10 a month each until they arrive at the age of 16.

Fate was not altogether unkind in the case of the Leisinger family. A life insurance policy for $1000, which Leisinger had taken out in the Brotherhood of American Yeomen, became effective three days ago, so that the little family also will have that to fall back on.

Had Reputation for Courage.

Policeman Leisinger, who, in his short service had gained a reputation for courage, was seen climbing on the rear fender of the automobile on North Capitol street, near P, by Robert Mateer, 134 W street northwest, driver of a milk wagon.

A moment thereafter the car picked up speed and by the time it reached New York avenue, it was going at a 80 mile clip. At this point it passed Policeman La Dow, of the Second precinct.

Leisinger, clinging to the rear fender, shouted to La Dow: “Stop him, stop him!”

La Dow jumped into the milk truck and started in pursuit. He soon lost the speeding machine. In the vicinity of L street he heard several shots, and continued on to Union station. Finding no trace of the machine there, he started back up North Capitol street on foot.

On reaching North Capitol and H street, La Dow encountered a man waiting for a street car. He told him he saw a car speed into I street. La Dow walked to this street and in front of no. 19 found the body of Leisinger. About the still form were scattered the officer’s revolver and and five empty shells, his blackjack and a flashlight. His clothing was torn, indicating that he had been dragged for some distance.

Chief of Detectives Clifford L. Grant yesterday expressed the opinion that the bullet which plowed through Leisinger’s heart first struck a part of the automobile and ricocheted. The bullet was flattened out when it was extracted from the body. Great importance is attached to this discovery, as it means that the automobile bears some mark by which it might be positively identified.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED AUGUST 29, 1924, PAGE 1

Post Gives $250 to Start Fund For Slain Policeman’s Widow

The Washington Post announces a contribution of $250 toward a fund to be raised by the public for the relief of the family of Policeman Raymond C. Leisinger, who was shot to death yesterday in the performance of his duty.

The slaying of the policeman presents to the people of the District an opportunity to help the widow and her two little children and at the same time show their appreciation for the heroic services of Leisinger.

There are several reasons why the responses to an appeal in behalf of the fatherless family ought to be generous. Mrs. Leisinger is blind. She must support two children, Isabell, aged 11, and Raymond, aged 9, who suffered a broken arm two days ago. Leisinger had been a member of the force less than two months and had not become a member of the relief association.

Leisinger was shot about 4 o’clock yesterday morning while attempting to stop an automobile occupied by several men and a woman. Before the fatal shot was fired the policeman was seen hanging to the rear fender of the automobile, which was being driven at high speed. Leisinger’s body was found on I street northeast near First street.

Contributions for the relief of the stricken family should be sent to the Washington Post. An account of the killing and latest developments in the search for the slayer or slayers will be found on page 2.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED AUGUST 30, 1924, PAGE 2.

POLICE DETERMINED TO BRING LEISINGER SLAYER TO JUSTICE

Dragnet Extended in Grim Man-Hunt; Numerous Clews Misleading.

BRUTALITY OF MURDER SPURS ON DETECTIVES

Man, Arrested as Suspect, is Released; Auto Believed Bullet-Riddled.

A grim determination that the murderer of Policeman Raymond C. Leisinger shall not escape justice characterizes the attitude of Washington police and detectives toward the unrelenting man-hunt which began after that officer was brutally shot to death from the bumper of a speeding motor car early Thursday morning, near 19 I street northeast.

Numerous clews have been found misleading, and the trail of the murderers automobile lost, but the feeling yesterday in police circles was that eventually the fugitive would be brought to justice, with his accomplishes. From Maj. Daniel Sullivan, superintendent of police, who expressed the opinion that the man would be caught soon, to patrolmen in the various precincts, all appear anxious to continue the search unremittingly.

There are no suspects now under arrest. Continued hints from a former policeman, Thomas J. Garner, 1210 C street southwest, that he knew something of the tragedy, resulted yesterday afternoon in the man’s arrest by Headquarters Detective Keck. Garner, police say, has been a “general nuisance,” constantly lounging in the vicinity of precincts and telling friends  that he knew “all about the murder.” He was taken to the First precinct station temporarily, but no charges were placed against him. It is believed now he is ignorant of the case.

Watch for Riddled Auto.

Orders to stop any suspiciously marked automobiles were issued by Maj. Sullivan, as it is thought possible the murder car may bear a bullet mark. The bullet which killed Leisinger had been flattened against some hard substance before entering his body.

According to Dr. Herbert E. Martyn, acting coroner in the absence of Coroner J. Ramsey Nevitt, it apparently was a 38 caliber bullet, misshapen and twisted. The physician found it entered the left side of Leisinger’s body, gashing a rib, passing through the heart and finally lodging under the skin of the abdomen. The policeman, Dr. Martyn believes, died almost instantly.

An inquest will be held probably Tuesday or Wednesday by Dr. Martyn, a delay being deemed necessary in order to give the police an opportunity to capture the guilty person. In the meantime, local authorities make it plain the man hunt will continue until the murderer is found.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED AUGUST 31, 1924, PAGE 4

SHOT WHICH KILLED LEISINGER BELIEVED FROM FOREIGN GUN

Bureau Experts Find Bullet Weighs More Than One From Police Pistol.

4 SUSPECTS IN KILLING GRILLED BY DETECTIVES

The bullet which killed Policeman Raymond C. Leisinger Thursday is apparently of foreign manufacture. This important clew was developed yesterday when preliminary examination of the bullet fired in the patrolman’s body by the occupants of a speeding motor car, showed it to weigh 12,027 grams, or more than the type of shot carried by a .38 caliber revolver.

Since Leisinger was equipped with the latter weapon, like all Washington policemen, this discovery disposes of the theory that he accidently killed himself, while firing at the occupants of the car, as he clung to the bumper. It has been repeatedly claimed that the policeman’s bullet ricocheted and pierced him through the heart.

The tests were made by experts of the Bureau of Standards, at instigation of police. While detectives strove to link four suspects arrested earlier in the day with the crime, scientists at the bureau were called upon to examine the battered bullet. Leisinger’s torn coat, and another bullet that crashed through a window in the home of Mrs. Mary Hayes, 10 I street northeast.

Second Bullet Smaller.

As a result, it was learned that the second bullet weighed only 9, 351 grams, and police are at a loss to explain who fired it. The bullet found in Leisinger’s body might have been fired from a Mauser or Luger revolver, it was said, although it is impossible to determine the exact make.  One theory advanced is that it is merely an ordinary .45 caliber shot., part of which spent itself on the heavy material of the policeman’s coat.

A careful investigation will be begun to determine whether any foreign made weapon capable of firing .40 caliber bullets has been purchased recently in downtown shops. Police are certain that no weapon of that kind is or ever has been employed by any member of the department.

Four Held As Suspects.

Grilling of the four suspects, continued until midnight. The gave their names as Mary Nelson, 19 years old, 972 Florida avenue northwest; James Stewart, 33 years old, 1610 Reeves street northwest; John Henry Smith, 43 years old, 441 New Jersey avenue northwest; and James Harold Edwards, 21 years old, of the same address. Police rounded up the quartet when they received information that the four were observed riding in an automobile early Thursday morning in the vicinity of the crime.

Each suspect was taken separately and questioned by detectives, but the results have not yet been disclosed. All the suspects have remained away from their homes since the day of the killing, police learned, and Smith, it is said, admitted having been arrested in connection with a murder several years ago. At the precincts, where they were confined, they were held incommunicado.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED SEPTEMBER  2, 1924,

OFFICIALS PAY HONOR TO SLAIN POLICEMAN AT FUNERAL SERVICE

Raymond C. Leisinger Is Laid to Rest With Simple, Brief Rites.

MEMBERS OF THE FORCE ACT AS PALLBEARERS

Burial, in Glenwood Cemetery, Attended By Scores of Friends of Deceased.

Raymond C. Leisinger, murdered policeman, was buried yesterday in Glenwood Cemetery. Funeral services at the home, 1841 Monroe street northeast, and at the grave side were simple and brief.

The Rev. Charles E. Fultz, pastor of the United Brethren church, spoke of the kindness and care with which the murdered man had guarded his loved ones and praised the spirit which carried him to his death in the performance of his duty.

About the casket were grouped members of the family and the highest officials of the police department. In front of the home and along the sidewalk were gathered men, women and children, who spoke in murmurs while they waited to pay what honor they might to the dead.

Policemen Are Pallbearers.

The casket was carried by six policemen of the Second precinct, Inspector Charles E. Evans, acting chief of police; Inspector Henry G. Pratt, assistant superintendent; Inspector William S. Shelby, personnel officer of the department; Capt. C.T. Peck, commander of the Second precinct, to which the dead policeman was assigned when he was appointed to the force July 1; Lieut. Michael Raedy, of the Second precinct, and Lieut. J.E. Wilson, of the headquarters staff, followed the burdened pallbearers.

Mrs. Leisinger, the widow, supported by her father and mother, Mr and Mrs. John Magruder; Raymond, the 9 year old son of the dead man, whose broken arm was wrapped in splints and carried in a sling, and her sister, Mrs. Martin Leese, came next, followed by Mr. And Mrs. Charles Leisinger, the mother and father; Frank Leisinger, brother; Mrs. Jesse Stewart, sister of the slain policeman. Other members of the family included Mr. And Mrs. Smith, Martin Leese, Mr. And Mrs. Harry Carson, William Sincell, Mrs. Harry Simms and Mrs. Emma Crews.

Scores of Friends Present.

Scores of friends followed the funeral procession to the grave where several score persons were waiting. Many of them were wives or other members of the families of policemen.

There was silence as the procession made its way to the grave. The pallbearers were Privates Stup, Christesen, Montgomery, Winface, Skinner and Dorenbacher.

As Mrs. Leisinger, the blind wife, approached she stumbled slightly over a coping. As the coffin was lowered Mrs. Leisinger, the mother, sobbed and started forward, but was restrained by the father of the dead policeman.

When the mourners turned to leave the grave Inspector Shelby reached out his hand and laid it on the head of the son of the buried policeman and patted him softly on the shoulder. A woman stopped and kissed him. The funeral cars left and the grave was filled.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED SEPTEMBER 5, 1924, PAGE 6

GOOD DETECTIVE WORK.

The detective bureau has done good work in finding the car used by the murderer of Patrolman Leisinger, and in apprehending individuals who are suspected of connection with the crime. The other day, just before dawn, the young officer, with perhaps more zeal than discretion, secreted  himself on the rear bumper of the car, and was soon engaged in a pistol fight with the occupants, who shot him down and speeded away.

It was a peculiarly difficult task to find the car, and the persons suspected of the murder. The detective bureau worked with the greatest energy and intelligence, and there is reason to believe that the case will end with the punishment of the guilty parties. The administration of justice in this case should be prompt as well as thorough, not only for the sake of avenging the death of a heroic defender of the people, but for the purpose of impressing bootleggers that swift and sure punishment awaits them when they commit such crimes.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED SEPTEMBER 21, 1924, PAGE 12

POST LEISINGER FUND RECEIVES $182 MORE

Recent Contributions Will Be Sent to Widow of Slain Policeman

Since The Washington Post presented to Mrs. Annie M. Leisinger, blind widow of Policeman Raymond C. Leisinger, killed in line of duty, a check for $4,491.25, contributions amounting to $182.20 have been received by this newspaper. These additional contributions will be immediately forwarded to Mrs. Leisinger.

Contributions recently received by The Post were: The Greeks of Washington$72; Memorial United Brethren Church, $55.20; Office of U.S. Marshal, $17; G.I.M., $1; W. C. Kendall, $5; F.B. Davenport, $5; B.R., $2; The Ahepa, American Citizens of Hellenic Descent, $25. Total $182.20.

Contributions made to the fund raised by The Post, added to that obtained by the police department, will mean a fund totaling about $10,000 to provide for the future of the widow of the policeman and for the education and support of their son and daughter.

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PARTIAL WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED OCTOBER 1, 1924, PAGE 9

3 ARE INDICTED BY JURY IN POLICEMAN’S SLAYING

Holmes, Freeman and Gross Charged With Murder; Girl is Freed.

Three of the four persons held by the police in connection with the death of Policeman Raymond C. Leisinger, of the Second precinct, were indicted yesterday on a charge of first-degree murder.

The accused are James T. Holmes, Harry W. Freeman and John A. Gross, who are alleged to have been occupants of the touring car from which the bullet was fired early August 28 in I street near North Capitol street. Leisinger was seated upon the rear bumper. Some one on the back seat is alleged to have fired at him through the back of the car. The grand jury ignored the charge of homicide against Helen Jackson, said to have been the fourth person in the car.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED NOVEMBER 14, 1924, PAGE 2

H.W. FREEMAN ADMITS KILLING LEISINGER

Harry W. Freeman, one of the two remaining defendants on trial accused of murdering Policeman Raymond C. Leisinger, yesterday admitted in criminal court No. 2, before Chief Justice McCoy, that he fired the fatal shots.

He explained he was shooting in self-defense, as the policeman, who was hanging on to a spare tire in the rear of the car, was shooting at the car. Freeman said he did not know at that time that it was a policeman who was firing, but thought some one was shooting at occupants of the automobile.

James T. Holmes, the other defendant, said he handed the pistol to Freeman at the latter’s request. He also stated he did not know it was a policeman doing the shooting.

The case may go to the jury today. John A. Gross, the third defendant mentioned in the indictment has been exonerated.

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PARTIAL WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED JANUARY 18, 1925, PAGE 22

TWO GET LIFE TERMS IN LEISINGER CASE

James T. Holmes and Harry W. Freeman Sentenced in Slaying of Policeman.

James T. Holmes and Harry W. Freeman, who were convicted of a charge of second degree murder in connection with the shooting of Policeman Raymond C. Leisinger on August 28 last, were sentenced to life imprisonment yesterday by Chief Justice McCoy in criminal court No. 2. This is the maximum penalty, John A. Gross, who was jointly indicted with Holmes and Freeman, was exonerated.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED DECEMBER 29, 1925, PAGE 22.

RIGHT OF POLICEMEN TO USE FORCE UPHELD

Reply is Filed to Appeal of Alleged Slayer of Leisinger.

The right of a policeman to meet force with force in the attempt to maintain an arrest for a misdemeanor was upheld yesterday in a brief filed in the Court of Appeals by Assistant District Attorney Raymond Neudecker in appeal of James T. Holmes, alleged slayer of Policeman Raymond Leisinger.

Holmes was sentenced to prison for life. A brief in his behalf in the appellate court denies the right of a policeman to make an arrest for a violation of the traffic regulations without a warrant and also denies the right of the officer to use any force to maintain such an arrest. The government’s brief contends that questions raised in the brief filed in behalf of Holmes are frivolous.

Leisinger attempted to halt a car driven by Holmes because it carried no lights. He jumped on the rear bumper and held onto the spare tire. Three shots were fired at him through the back of the rear seat and he was killed.

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