Patrolman John Christopher
On this day in Baltimore Police History, 18 August 1872 we lost our brother, Patrolman John Christopher. To gunfire based on the following:
Patrolman Christopher was lost to gunfire. It started out as a cloud of dust being thrown up by two young wagon men as they raced their team's neck and neck down a dirt road near Catonsville’s Railway Park. The drivers cursing their horses, and one another in a race where friendly competition quickly ended as both James Ford, and James Dorsey cracking the reins from their wagons into their animal’s necks, and backs in order to gain speed. Each struggled more and more to go faster, each had nothing more in mind than to win that race, and to try to overtake the other. The race had begun at, “Kelly’s Woods” in Catonsville, and was nearing the City/County line near Western District. It was in that park, near the old Western, that the two men stopped, and an argument ensued. The two young men argued like they raced, they were loud, and each wanted nothing more than to win. They each wanted that win so much so, that their actions drew the attention of Baltimore City Patrolman, John Christopher. As Patrolman Christopher neared Ford and Dorsey; they began to physically fight, each throwing blow, after blow at the other. Baltimore Police have not changed much in the 141 years since this incident; police were strong, often relying on the use of brute strength to overcome the situations they find themselves in. On this particular day in 1872, things were not much different, Patrolmen Christopher single-handedly separated the two combatants, and forced them back into their wagons and on their way. To keep the peace, Patrolman Christopher climbed into James Ford’s wagon with him and rode with him toward his destination with efforts to maintain peace.
Despite Patrolman Christopher’s best efforts, the two drivers resumed their argument which escalated quickly into a fight. Dorsey began throwing stones at Ford and warned him that if he bumped into his wagon again, he would shoot him. The fisticuffs resumed, and Dorsey started to live up to his promise of shooting Ford as he pulled a pistol. Patrolman
Christopher saw the weapon, and once again gained control over the more violent of the men by forcefully throwing him from his wagon to the ground. That momentary separation was lost when Ford dove onto Dorsey and went for his gun. Before Patrolman Christopher could regain control over either of the men the pistol was fired once. Even while Dorsey’s anger was focused on Ford, the bullet left his weapon and found its way into the stomach of Officer Christopher, causing severe pain, and what would become a fatal injury. Patrolman Christopher felt the burn in his stomach as he fell to the ground.
Our Brother Patrolman John Christopher was quickly taken to the house of “Justice Pilot” where he was treated by “Dr. Worsham”. “Justice Pilot”, and “John Young”, responded to the scene of the shooting where they were able to apprehend, and arrest both, “James Dorsey” and “James Ford”. Patrolman Christopher made a positive ID, and was taken to his home located at, 14 South Fremont St. where he was cared for by, “Prof. J. H. Butler”. His injuries were painful and they were fatal, leaving the medical professionals in a place where no matter what they could have done they were unable to save his life. Patrolman Christopher lay in pain from the night of the shooting on 18 Aug, until the day he passed away on 23, Aug. 1872 at approx. 3:30 in the afternoon.
As his brothers and sisters, of the Baltimore Police Department it is up to us to make sure he is never forgotten. For his service honored the City of Baltimore and Baltimore Police Department. May God be with him, so that he may rest in peace.
|End of Watch||18 August 1872|
|City, St.||City/County line near Western’s District|
|Panel Number||21-W: 10|
|Cause of Death||Gunfire|
Copies of: Your Baltimore Police Department Class Photo, Pictures of our Officers, Vehicles, Equipment, Newspaper Articles relating to our department and or officers, Old Departmental Newsletters, Lookouts, Wanted Posters, and or Brochures. Information on Deceased Officers and anything that may help Preserve the History and Proud Traditions of this agency. Please contact Retired Detective Kenny Driscoll.
How to Dispose of Old Police Items
Copyright © 2002 Baltimore City Police History - Ret Det Kenny Driscoll