A little after 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 4, 1916, a citizen was held up at gunpoint at 13th Street and Clay. The victim resisted the efforts of the “highwayman” and screamed for assistance.
Patrolman Robert F. Gushe, a five-year veteran of Oakland Police Department, heard the cries for help and rushed on foot to the scene. He saw a man walking hurriedly down Clay Street, and several citizens pointed at him as the robber. Gushe took off after the person. He caught up to him, tapped him on the shoulder and said, “You are wanted!”
Without turning around the man reached with his right hand around the left side of his torso and fired one shot, which struck Gushe. Despite a mortal wound to the heart, Gushe fired three rounds at his assailant, and then collapsed to the pavement. A storeowner, witnessing the assault, picked up the stricken officer’s weapon and fired at the fleeing suspect. Along with several citizens, he pursued the highwayman who escaped in the maze of alleys and back streets in the area. Despite a cordon set up by officers and detectives, the criminal escaped capture.
Gushe died enroute to the hospital. He had joined the department as a special officer in September 1911, and received appointment to a full-time position in December. His wife survived him.