Joseph Krupp
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Officer Joseph Krupp - Died April 19, 1910

Joseph Krupp

Officer Joseph Krupp, 28, was shot and killed in the early morning hours of April 19, 1910, while questioning two suspicious men in the railroad yards in Haughville. 

The shooting occurred shortly after 12 o’clock midnight at the Minker Street intersection of the Belt railroad.  Officers Krupp and Albert C. Groves were following orders to help with efforts to arrest burglars who had been active in the city by stopping and examining all suspicious persons.  Seeing two men standing on the railroad, the officers approached.  While being searched by the officers, one of the men fired his weapon at them.  The officers returned fire, but the suspects were not injured.  

Both Officer Krupp and Officer Groves had been struck by the gun fire; Officer Krupp by two bullets and Officer Groves by one.  Officer Groves helped Officer Krupp to his feet and they started toward the nearest house.  Reaching the house, they called out for assistance when Officer Krupp fell to the ground.  Due to the extent of his injuries, he could not be moved into the home.  The residents provided blankets and rugs and spread them over Officer Krupp to keep off the snow that was falling. 

Officer Groves ran to the nearest telephone and notified police headquarters of the shooting.   The officers were transported to city hospital where Officer Groves was treated and released.  Officer Krupp died of his injuries a few hours later, at 8:00 in the morning.

By 12:30 pm, other officers had responded to the scene of the shooting and begun a systematic and intensive search of the area.  The telegraph operator at Mt. Jackson notified other operators along the line to be on the watch for two men and gave the description of the men who did the shooting.  At 5:15 am, the operator at the Avon station, twelve miles west of Indianapolis, responded that he had seen two men matching the description enter an abandoned construction camp shack near the station.

This information was telephoned to Indianapolis police who responded in the police emergency machine, armed with revolvers and a riot gun and led by Superintendent Hyland.   At 5:30 in the morning, police broke into the shack and had the suspects covered with their weapons before the men could get to their feet.  The suspects surrendered and were quickly disarmed.

Initially identifying themselves as Walter Whitelock and George Douglas, the suspects confessed to the shooting incident during interrogation.  Both suspects were from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.  Their statements indicated they were “hoboing” their way to Gary, Indiana.  While waiting for the next train, they visited saloons and played pool.  They were both armed with revolvers they had bought in Cincinnati.   Police in Pittsburg later identified the suspects as Albert Spohn and George Brown who were wanted in that jurisdiction for a series of street car robberies.

In his confession, Whitelock stated of the guns’ purchase, “I said at the time those guns might get us into trouble. . . I was rummy from the booze I drank and when the copper started to search me I let him have it.  I wish now he had killed me instead of me killing him.  I never did have any sense when I was drinking.”

Whitelock's trial was held in the Boone County Circuit Court in June following a change in venue from Marion County.   Claiming he had thought Officer Krupp was a hold-up man, Whitelock was found guilty of manslaughter and given a sentence of two to fourteen years in prison.

In recognition of the assistance provided to the police in capturing the suspects, officers at roll call collected money to give to the quick-witted young operator at the Avon station who reported his sighting of the two suspects in the construction shack.   News accounts from the time indicated that it was “probable that every member of the department and many of their friends will contribute.”

Officer Krupp was survived by his wife, Bertha, and a small child.  He had been on the force about a year.  The funeral was held at Holy Cross Church, with burial at St. Joseph cemetery.

Source:  Indianapolis News, April 19, 1910; Indianapolis Star, April 19 -21, 25; May 28; June 27-30, 1910; IMPD Survey of Burial Locations, summer 2012.  Indianapolis City Directory, 1915.