Officer Richard Philpott and his partner, Officer Charles Fife, received instructions over the Oakland Police Headquarters phone to proceed to a residence to patch up a family disturbance. They were met by a large crowd of neighbors and the family of the man of the household. The wife told the officers that her husband had been acting strangely that day and had beaten her. Her son said that his father was in the barn next to the house and that he had a shotgun. He said that the shotgun wasn’t loaded though.
The officers proceeded to the barn to address the man. As they stepped through the door, the information regarding the unloaded shotgun proved erroneous. Philpott was struck in the face by the shotgun blast. He fell to the ground, unconscious. Fife fired six rounds at the suspect, incapacitating him.
Philpott was rushed to Merritt Hospital, blinded and with almost 50 buckshot penetration wounds to his head. He died of his wounds the next day on January 7. He was survived by his wife and stepdaughter and stepson.