During the evening hours of Tuesday, March 16, 1976, Narcotics Detective James M. Compton, Jr., 29 was shot and fatally wounded in an ambush when he and a team of other detectives attempted to serve a warrant on three men barricaded in a west side residence at 2145 Gent Avenue.
Narcotics detectives had received several complaints from administrators of Crispus Attucks High school concerning Del Anthony Boatright, alleging that Boatright was selling marijuana to students. Detective Compton, who had been assigned to narcotics for only six weeks, was given the case with a team of three other detectives. Through an informant, the detectives verified that Boatright was selling marijuana to students, and with a search warrant, they approached Boatright's home at about 10pm.
Detective Compton knocked on the front door of the home, identified himself as a policeman, and announced he had the warrant. The answer was a blast of gun fire through the screen door. Struck in the head and chest, Compton fell back and crawled across to the middle of the front yard. While one narcotics detective gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to Detective Compton, two others returned fire, striking Boatright.
Detective Compton and Del Boatright were transported to Wishard Hospital. Boatright died at 11 pm; Detective Compton died about an hour later.
Detective Compton was born in Indianapolis and attended Shortridge High School. A Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, he received the Purple Heart for wounds suffered in action in the summer of 1967. Compton was appointed to the police department February 1, 1976. He formerly was a policeman for two years in Kansas.
Virtually thousands of police officers from around the mid-west attended the services for Detective Compton. He was buried in New Crown Cemetery and was survived by his wife, Brenda; two daughters, Madonna, 11, and Genine,6; and a son, James M. Compton, III, 5.
Source: Indianapolis Star, March 17, 18, 20, 1976; Indianapolis News, March 19, 1976.