The family of Special Officer Charles A. Williams said that it was his life-long ambition to wear a uniform and badge.
In the late afternoon hours of April 21, 1912, Williams was on patrol in the area of East 12th Street and 13th Avenue. He saw two suspicious looking men alight from a streetcar and opted to stop and question them regarding pick-pocketing activities.
Williams felt that their answers to his questions were unsatisfactory, so he decided to walk them to the “lock-up” at the rear of the firehouse on East 14th Street. Williams did not search the suspects, an oversight that would cost him his life.
As the trio neared their destination, one suspect pulled free from his grasp and ran down an alley. Williams lunged after the suspect. Suddenly, two loud, sharp reports accompanied by a large cloud of smoke came from the alley. Williams fell dead to the sidewalk. He had been shot once in the heart and once in the head.
Williams entered the Oakland Police Department service in 1907. At the time of his death he was being considered for promotion to full membership in the department. His wife and five children survived him. His murderer was captured and sentenced to life imprisonment.