Charles J. Russell
Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Officer Charles J. Russell - Died September 30, 1906

Charles J. Russell

Officer Charles J. Russell and his partner, Officer Edward J. Petticord, were shot and killed in an incident that occurred shortly after 8 o'clock in the evening of Sunday, September 30, 1906, near 24th Street and Indianapolis Avenue.  Officers Russell and Petticord were in the neighborhood searching for subjects who had reportedly been involved in a drunken fight when they came across Jesse Coe and George Williams.  As  Officer Russell stepped forward to search Coe, Coe drew a revolver and fired three shots toward Russell at a range of about two feet.  Officer Russell sank to the ground and Coe started to run.  Officer Petticord started after Coe, with George Williams in the rear.  Officer Petticord ran about 100 feet when Williams drew a revolver and fired a bullet into the officer's back.  Officer Petticord staggered and fell in a leaning position over a fence post.  Coe and Williams then disappeared.  

Officers Russell and Petticord were both hurriedly taken to the City Hospital.  Officer Russell's death followed a short time afterward, and Officer Petticord died in the early morning hours of October 2.  

The news of the incident resulted in the organization of a systematic search.  Police wagons filled with officers and detectives and several bicyclemen raced to the scene.  Day men were summoned from their homes, and district patrolmen throughout the city were notified.  All outgoing inter-urban cars and freight trains were searched.  Men were sent to the outskirts, and all the haunts of Coe and Williams were watched.  The police engaged the services of two chauffeurs, and two automobiles loaded with detectives joined the searching troops. 

Williams was quickly apprehended where he and Coe roomed at 936 Queen Avenue, a few blocks from the incident.  On October 25, 1906, he was convicted and sentenced to death in the Marion County Criminal Court.  Williams was executed at the gallows in the State prison in Michigan City on Friday, February 8, 1907.  Williams was the last man to have been hanged in Indiana.  The electric chair replaced the gallows after his execution.

Jesse Coe, known as a desperado with considerable intelligence, eluded a nation-wide police manhunt until August 25, 1908, when he was killed in a shoot-out with Monroe County, Kentucky, Sheriff J. E. Bryant and his deputies near Marlinsburg, on the Cumberland river.  Bryant had been on the look-out for Coe during the two years since the officers' deaths, confident that Coe would show himself sooner or later.  The range of hills bordering the Cumberland river east of Tompkinsville was one of the wildest and most sparsely settled districts in Kentucky.  Nearly all the inhabitants of the hills were related to the Coe family.

Officer Russell lived with his wife, Mamie, and baby.  He also had three sons by a former wife.  Funeral services were held at his home on West 28th Street, a few blocks from the place where he was killed.  A detail of police officers acted as pallbearers and the escort.  After the service, his body was taken to Crown Hill for burial.

Officer Petticord was single and lived with his two sisters and a brother on East McCarty Street.  Funeral services were held at Sixth Christian Church.  His body is buried at New Bethel cemetery in the Wanamaker area.

An article  in the December 26, 1906, Indianapolis Morning Star, told the touching story of Officer Petticord's dog, Bob:

"Comrades have ceased to remember with a shiver of fear the fate of the officer as nightly they pace their beats; the period of mourning conventionally established for the brave guardian of the peace has passed, but there is one friend who has never ceased for a moment to mourn his master's loss.

"That friend is "Bob," the thorough-bred English bull terrior which was an inseparable companion of [Officer Petticord] in hours when he was off duty.  Yesterday, Christmas day, found Bob at the street car track at dawn, awaiting, as he has waited each day since the murder, for the appearance of his master, returning from night duty.  When several cars had thundered by Bob trotted home again, as he has each morning sinced his master first failed to come.  Often Bob will trot to the room of the dead officer in the home of the Petticords at 711 East McCarty street, and place his muzzle on the easy-chair where the officer often sat. . .  Often on making his morning trip to meet the returning officer, as a car thundered by, passengers looked toward the sidewalk, at McCarty street, to see the form of a white bull dog, who lifted his nose in the air and emitted a mournful whine which echoed away in the distance as the car sped on."

Both officers had been on the police force for about five years.


The Indianapolis News, Monday, October 1 -2, 1906; February 8, 1907; August 26, 1908.  The Indianapolis Morning Star, December 26, 1906.  State Department of Corrections, Executions: State of Indiana 1897-1961 (held by Indiana State Archives)