Officer William H. Cunliffe is murdered on June 17, 1911.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 5/23/2002
  • Essay 3809
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On June 17, 1911, Seattle Police Officer William H. Cunliffe (1866-1911) is shot and killed by unknown assailants on First Hill.

Officer Cunliffe was on foot patrol in the area of Summit Avenue and Columbia Street in the early morning hours of June 17. There had been several residential burglaries in the area the night before. The officer stopped one or possibly two men he found on the street and he was shot. The nature of his wound suggested that he was talking to someone when he was shot from the side.

Five persons were arrested in a boarding house at 1115 Madison Street, but were later released. The City of Seattle, King County, and the State of Washington offered a reward of $1,250 for the killer's arrest. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer collected $360 to augment Mrs. Cunliffe's widow's pension of $33 a month. One donor was John Considine, who had killed Police Chief Meredith 10 years before.

No one was ever charged with Officer Cunliffe's killing.


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), 23.

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