Officer Schaneman was walking a foot beat south of Yesler Way when he observed two men in the alley between 1st Avenue and Occidental Street (near the 2002 rear entrance of the Grand Central Building) whom he wanted to question about a series of robberies in the neighborhood. There was a scuffle and someone fired two shots. The men fled and Schaneman gave chase. He caught up with them near Jackson Street and Occidental Street and three more shots were fired. Schaneman fell to the pavement with a wound to his head.
Three other officers responded to the commotion and chased the suspects as they ran away from Schaneman. The officers ordered the men to stop and they opened fire. In the resulting gun battle, one man was wounded. The other man escaped.
Schaneman was taken in a patrol wagon to the police station where he died. Willard C. Thomas, the wounded suspect, was arrested, but he claimed that his partner shot Schaneman. Thomas was armed with a gun different from the one that killed the officer.