On this day in Baltimore City Police History 22 Sept 1858 we lost our brother Police Officer Benjamin Benton to gunfire based on the following:
News reports would write - A Police Officer is Shot Dead - The Western Quarter of the city on Wednesday night was the scene of an affray, (a scuffle) the result of which was the instant killing of police officer Benjamin Benton, of the Western District, by a single shot from a pistol in the hands of a man named Henry Gambrill, (Henry Gambrill was the keeper of a public house on Franklin street, near Howard street.) It appears that a dance or some other kind of amusement was going on in the house on Biddle street, near Pennsylvania avenue. A number of disorderly characters were among those present, and about 11:30PM officer Burke, of that beat, apprehending a disturbance, gave the usual “Double Rap” for assistance, (Note; the “double rap” refers to striking an officers baton (Espantoon) against any solid building, downspout or cobblestone street to summons other officers in the area to come help him – (Basically the “Double Rap” was 1858’s version of a 10-16 just a step above a sig 13) Burk was joined by his brother “Officers Benton”, (the deceased) Rigdon, and Brown, who seized two of the party – “David Houck and John Isenhart” – at the request of the proprietor of the house, and attempted to take them to the station-house. Benton and Rigdon had hold of Houck, and while struggling with him, Gambrill interfered, and after threatening to knock Benton down, stepped back several paces, leveling a revolver within three feet of Benton’s head, fired. The ball entered immediately back of the left ear, and passing entirely through the neck, came out at the right ear, almost in line with its entrance. Benton released hold on Houck, and fell dead, the ball having severed the spinal cord and cut the base of the brain away. - Gambrill escaped, but was afterwards arrested by Captain Linaweaver, and locked up with Houck and Isenhart at the western on Pine Street station…
The investigation was concluded at about three o’clock yesterday morning, when the jury rendered the verdict that the deceased, Benjamin Benton, came to his death from a ball fired from a pistol in the hands of Henry Gambrill, who was immediately committed to jail by Justice Logan for the action of the grand jury…
Mr. Benton was connected with the police department for eight years past and was retained through several administrations, which intervened on the account of his excellent qualities as an officer. He was about 45 years of age, and leaves a wife and five children.
The Widow of Officer Benton. - The first branch of the council last evening adopted a resolution to pay the widow of police officer Benjamin Benton, killed on Wednesday night in the discharge of his duty, $520, or one year’s salary.
Note; Mr. Gambrill was sentenced “to be hanged by the neck until he be dead.”
As his brothers and sisters of the Baltimore Police Department we will not let him be forgotten. His service Honored the City of Baltimore, and the Police Department. RIP Officer Benjamin Benton
|End of Watch||22 September, 1858|
|City, St.||Franklin street, near Howard street|
|Panel Number||35-E: 21|
|Cause of Death||Gunfire|