In Memoriam of Fallen Officers
"The Police Officers Prayer"
Lord, I ask for Courage -
Courage to face and conquer my own fears.
Courage to take me where others will not go....
I ask for strength -
Strength of body to protect others, and
strength of spirit to lead others....
I ask for dedication -
Dedication to my job, to do it well,
Dedication to my community, to keep it safe
And please, Lord,
through it all, be at my side ...
Ray Cunningham - Railroad Police Officer
End of Watch: May 28, 1915
On May 28, 1915, three Frisco railroad detectives, including Cunningham, entered a boxcar at the Beaumont Junction (approximately 25 miles east of Augusta) to eject several transients from the train. The detectives began arguing with the transients, after boarding the train, about closing the door on the box car they were found in. Roy Ambrose objected to closing the door and when Cunningham tried to close the door, Ambrose fired a shot that passed through Cunningham's neck and penetrated his jugular vein. Cunningham died within twenty minutes.
Ambrose jumped off of the train, and it continued west to Augusta with Cunningham's body on board. Once in Augusta, the train stopped around 1:00 a.m. and the box car was set out. The three other transients were placed under arrest and put in the Augusta Jail. Cunningham's body was examined by Coroner Turner and then taken to R. A. Morrius' undertaking. A second exam was conducted by Coroner Turner and Dr. Garvin. The bullet could not be found on Cunningham, so a search was conducted of the box car. The bullet was found lodged in the wall of the box car.
Ambrose made his way to Keighley, a spot within five miles of Beaumont, and offered Al Burris, the section foreman, any amount of money to take him to Wichita by "motor car." Ambrose told Burris that he had been robbed and kicked off the train. Burris decided not to take Ambrose and Ambrose went to the waiting room of the Keighley Depot. Ambrose was captured at Keighley by City Marshal Ed Spencer and two railroad detectives.
The Augusta Daily Gazette reported that Cunningham was, "a middle aged man of medium height with gray eyes and dark hair." He was from Springfield, Missouri and was married with one child. According to the Gazette, Cunningham carried $21 in his pocket and wore a dark gray suit with a pencil stripe and a black felt hat. Ambrose was from Aberdeen, South Dakota.
A jury found Ambrose guilty of killing Cunningham at approximately 1:20 p.m. that day following a Coroners Inquest.
Steven A. Jenkins - Police Officer
End of Watch: April 25, 1924
On Friday, April 18, 1924 Officer Steven A. Jenkins was on foot patrol in downtown Augusta around 12:45 a.m. As Jenkins approached the Standard Oil Company filling station on the northeast corner of 4th and State Streets, he saw a man crouched in front of the safe in the office.
Jenkins drew his revolver and found the front door to the business unlocked. As Jenkins opened the door, the suspect went into the restroom and hid. Jenkins called for the suspect to come out, but the suspect refused. Jenkins fired two shots through the door of the restroom and the bandit came out firing. As printed in the Augusta Gazette newspaper, "a sensational gun battle" erupted. The first shot wounded Jenkins, but Jenkins returned fire emptying his revolver. Jenkins fired four more shots, three of which struck the suspect in the right chest. The fourth shot struck the suspect in the leg.
Jenkins was struck by four of the suspects bullets as well. One bullet grazed his left shoulder, one struck him in the fleshy part of the right leg and another a little lower down in the left leg. The fourth bullet struck him in the right hip and stopped at the edge of his spine.
The suspect lived only seconds after the final shot rang out. Patrolman Fred McCall heard the shots and rushed to the scene. Chief W. A. Michaels was called and McCall took Jenkins to the Augusta Hospital. Jenkins was able to stand at the hospital, despite his wounds, and was put on an operating table where the bullet that went in his hip and came out at his spine was removed. The attending physician was noted as commenting that Jenkins injuries were serious, but he would most likely recover quickly provided the an infection does not develop.
The body of the bandit was taken to Dunsford Funeral Home and was displayed in the morgue to be viewed. Several hundred people viewed the body, as it was unclear exactly who the man was or where he was lived. W. S. Zickefoose, Chief of Detectives, said that the man's face was familiar but could not identify the man. The bandit is identified as having a dark complexion and being around 85 years old.
It was reported that the suspect gained access to the building through an open rear window and that it appeared as if he had unlocked the front door to aide in his escape. The dial had been broken off the safe, however the suspect did not gain access to the safe before being spotted by Jenkins.
The Augusta Daily Gazette on Saturday, April 19, 1924, reported that employees of Grant Oil Company identified the suspect as Harry Parsons, who was a former employee and former resident of Augusta. A car was found to be owned by Parsons, however it was never located.
On Monday, April 21, 1924 the Gazette reports that Parsons was buried at the Elmwood Cemetery and that officers felt that Parsons may have had an accomplice who got away. The accomplice theory was later discarded. The article reports that Parson's wife and sister had contacted police and that family members were located in Oklahoma. Parsons wife said that he had left her in Arkansas City less than three hours before being shot and killed by Jenkins. Due to the time between when Parsons was in Arkansas City and the time he was shot, police believe he had to come to Augusta by car. Mrs. Parsons claimed Parsons did not have their car with him, however she refused to disclose the location of the car. The Gazette printed that Parsons was survived by his father, two sisters, his wife, and a half brother.
Saturday, April 26, 1924, the headlines in the Augusta Daily Gazette read, "STEVE JENKINS DIED OF WOUNDS LAST NIGHT." According to news reports, Jenkins died at approximately 9:30 p.m. on April 25, 1924. Jenkins' condition had been steadily worsening and he was unable to overcome infection. Jenkins was survived by his Wife, Mrs. Grace Jenkins, and one 14-year-old son, Charles. In addition, Jenkins' is survived by his parents, three brothers, and three sisters. He was born in Pointsburg, Tennessee and was 43 years old. Jenkins had been a police officer for sixteen years, the last three with the Augusta Police.
Funeral services for Jenkins were held on Tuesday, April 29, 1924 at 2:30 p.m. in the Baptist Church. Burial was at Elmwood Cemetery. City offices reportedly closed at 1:30 p.m. and most businesses in the community followed suit. The Gazette reports on Wednesday, April 30, 1924, "Jenkins funeral is impressive service." According to the Gazette, "a crowd much larger than could be accommodated by the seating capacity of the Baptist Church assembled to pay its final tribute of respect and appreciation to Steve A. Jenkins." Rev. Dan A. Smith delivered the funeral sermon, dwelling on the phrase "Honor to whom honor is due."
Jenkins was the second officer to be killed in the line of duty in Augusta.