At about 7:20 on a dark, winter evening, mounted Officer George W. Brown, patrolling in the area of 26th Street and Broadway, decided to stop and interview a bicyclist. The bicyclist seemed to be loitering, leaning his bike against a telephone pole in front of a house with a yard, trees and luxuriant foliage. Brown dismounted and led his horse over to near where the individual was standing. He called the bicyclist to come to him.
Without warning, from the shadowy foliage behind the bicyclist, “a hand was thrust out of the darkness and three shots rang out as one. Brown staggered back exclaiming “Murder! Murder! I am shot!”
Two of the shots struck Brown in the chest. One round severed his pulmonary artery. After being shot, Brown staggered back and fell into the gutter. The bicyclist ran to his aid, as did an off-duty fireman. Together, they carried the mortally wounded officer across the street to Providence Hospital. Unable to give an account on the attack, Brown expired minutes after reaching the hospital.
The murderer fled along 26th Street towards Telegraph. An off-duty police officer that lived nearby heard the shots and Brown’s cry. He called in the alarm. “All avenues of egress from Oakland were closely guarded,” and the department quickly spread word of the shooting to all the neighboring jurisdictions.
The investigators learned that shortly before the attack on Brown, a “footpad” (robber) had robbed a young man at gunpoint in the neighborhood. They theorized that the robber, hiding in the shadows cast by the trees and buildings, mistakenly thought Brown was beckoning to him, and intended to arrest him for the robbery. Fear of arrest led him to shoot Brown.
The murderer managed to escape from Oakland, but was apprehended several years later in Stockton.