Inspector Albert A. (Dutch) Kelly was shot during the late evening of Wednesday, December 5, 1956. Police had received a tip the gunman who had shot the owner of the Bell Liquor Store earlier that night in an attempted hold-up had been seen at the York Hotel, 236 North Illinois Street. Inspector Kelly, Sergeant Edward L. Clark and Patrolman William Beaumont responded.
The desk clerk said someone who looked like the gunman was in Room 222. When the police officers reached the room, they saw James Bennett Baker, a 22-year old escapee from an eastern mental hospital walking down the hall from the bathroom. When asked if Room 222 was his, Baker replied in the affirmative.
Inspector Kelly ordered Beaumont and Clark to frisk Baker for weapons; they found none. All four then entered Baker’s room, and the officers again searched for a gun and found none. Kelly next ordered Clark to search the bathroom. While Clark was out of the room, Baker asked if he could get his coat; the policemen said it was.
Baker opened a locker door, pulled out a snub-nosed .38 caliber revolver and began firing. Three slugs hit Kelly in the neck and chest; one hit Beaumont in the back. While Beaumont returned fire, Kelly was unable to do so. Clark raced back to the room where he was warned by Kelly that Baker was behind the door. Clark called for more police and all downtown area squad cards rushed to the scene. Baker, hit by eight slugs, was dead when they arrived.
After the gunfire ended, Inspector Kelly pulled himself up on a chair and told Clark, “Don’t worry about me, Beaumont’s hurt worst.” Both Kelly and Beaumont were transferred to General Hospital emergency ward.
At 12:30 am on December 6, Albert Kelly received the last rites of the Catholic Church from Father James Higgins, police chaplain. The Indianapolis Star reported, “Afterwards, Inspector Kelly looked up at the priest and said: ‘Thanks, father. I’m ready.’” Inspector Kelly died a few minutes later. Friends and fellow officers who had come to give blood filed silently past his white-draped body and grasped his hand to say good-bye.
At police headquarters the next day, the building was quiet. There were no smiles and little conversation. Mayor Phillip L. Bayt, vacationing in Florida, flew home after having been notified of Inspector Kelly’s death. Earlier he telegraphed Inspector Kelly's widow, Elizabeth, saying: “The entire city joins me in mourning the untimely and tragic death of my friend, your husband, Inspector Albert Kelly. His was an outstanding record as a policemen and one which won him the respect of fellow officers and citizens alike. You have my deepest sympathy.”
A requiem mass for Inspector Kelly was held at Little Flower Catholic Church. Four hundred policemen, state troopers, sheriff’s deputies, and friends gathered in the church. After the service, the cortege passed police headquarters where uniformed policemen stood at attention and saluted. A fleet of 30 police motorcycles formed a vanguard for the 10-block long funeral caravan to Calvary Cemetery. The flag from the coffin was presented to Mrs. Kelly by Patrolman Charles Adams, chaplain of the Police Post of the American Legion, who said: “We give to you this flag under which your husband served in the United States Navy and the Indianapolis Police Department with so much honor.”
Inspector Kelly was appointed to the Indianapolis Police Department on July 13, 1928. Three years later he won his first promotion, to detective sergeant. In 1952 he was promoted to full lieutenant. He was named an inspector and promoted to full captain on January 12, 1956. At the time of his death, Inspector Kelly was the second highest ranking officer in the Department.
Born at Mt. Orab, Ohio, Inspector Kelly attended schools at Fayetteville, Ohio. He entered the U.S. Navy in 1922 for four years. He re-entered the Navy in 1941 during WWII, returning to the police department in 1945.
Baker’s body was later identified by the wife of the owner of Bell Liquor as the man who had shot her husband. From the small town of Whitinsville, Massachusetts, Baker was known by police officers there to be violent and dangerous.
Patrolman Beaumont remained in critical condition at hospital for some time; however, he recovered from his injuries and eventually returned to duty, retiring as a lieutenant in the August 1972.
Sources: The Indianapolis Star, December 7, 9, and 11, 1956; Board of Safety Record – William Beaumont.