Officer Henry L. Harris is shot and killed in Pioneer Square on July 4, 1911.

  • By Dave Wilma
  • Posted 5/16/2002
  • Essay 3775

On July 4, 1911, Seattle Police Officer Henry L. Harris (1882-1911) is shot and killed in Pioneer Square by an unknown assailant. Investigating officers are hindered by large numbers of intoxicated and antagonistic Fourth of July revelers. The crime is never solved.

Officer Harris was assigned to a fixed post front of the California Tavern at Washington Street and Occidental Avenue. Someone walked up behind him and fired a pistol. The officer was found with a wound below his right ear and he managed to fire two shots of his own before falling. The assailant was observed at the rear entrance to the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) hall, but the secretary on duty there denied that anyone had come into the building.

Witnesses described the suspect as "southern European, 35-40 years of age, 5'7", 170#, dark hair, wearing laborer's clothing" (Brasfield). Officer Harris died an hour later at City Hospital.



Rae Anna Victor, Century of Honor (Bloomington, IN: 1st Books, 2000), 140-141; Michael D. Brasfield, "An Examination of the Historical and Biographical Material Pertaining to the Violent Deaths Involving Seattle Police Officers (1881-1980)," (Undergraduate thesis, University of Washington Library, 1980), 25.

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