Honor Roll

Regarding the line-of-duty death of Special Policeman Lucius C. Smith of the Fresno Police Department, on Thursday, October 10, 1907.

On Thursday, October 10,1907, at 0235 hours, Special Policeman Lucius C. Smith of The Fresno Police Department was shot and killed by a burglar in the alley located between J and K streets behind the Barton Opera House. Officer Smith and his four- legged partner, Jim, were on foot patrol in Smith’s beat, which encompassed the downtown area of the City of Fresno.

The leading newspapers of Fresno; The Republican, The Herald and Democrat reported the following facts about the third murder of a peace officer in Fresno County within a nine-month period in 1907. Smith was patrolling his beat during the early morning hours of Thursday, October 10,1907, when he encountered a male dressed in dark clothing in the alley behind the Barton Opera House located at the corner of Fresno and K streets. The burglar had just exited through a transom and was standing in the alley, or was in the process of exiting through a transom when Officer Smith encountered him. Smith was heard by witnesses, who testified at the Coroner’s Inquest, to have called out to the unidentified male. Smith closed the distance between the unidentified male and himself. A brief and deadly gun battle ensued in which eight shots were fired, one from Smith’s .41 Colt and seven from the assailant’s automatic pistol. Smith was shot four times and died at the scene. A check of the Barton Opera House later that morning by its owner revealed that a burglar had rifled the premises and stolen a clock and an amount of cash. The Opera Saloon, located next to the opera house, had also been burglarized.

Smith was appointed a Special Policeman by the Board of Trustees of the City of Fresno on April 24,1897. Smith, 60, resided in Fresno County for more than 21 years. His wife and four grown children survived him.