Officer William F. Doehler

Fallen HeroOfficer William F. Doehler


On this day in Baltimore City Police History 1927 (5 Aug 27), we lost our brother, Police Officer William F. Doehler. Officer Doehler was shot and killed by David Berry on August 5, 1927, after the officer had arrested him at a pawnshop for possession of stolen goods. Officer Doehler took him to a call box at Pennsylvania and Biddle to call for the wagon. While at the box, the assailant pulled a gun and shot the officer through the chest.

Officer Doehler was married and the father of two children. he entered the department on September 3, 1919.

We, his brothers and sisters of the Baltimore Police Department, won’t let him be forgotten, RIP Officer William F. Doehler: "Your service "Honored" the City of Baltimore and the Baltimore Police Department."

Search in Capital for Negro Fruitless
17 August 1927
pg 22

Detectives Make Two Trips Seeking To Let Slayer Of Patrolman

Capt. Charles H. Burns, of the detective bureau, and four other members of the Police Department made fruitless trips to Washington yesterday in an attempt to capture David L. Perry, Negro wanted for the murder of patrolman William F. Doehler August 5, 1927. The detectives made their first trip on information furnished by George Diggs, Negro, who said he had spent Sunday night with Perry in Washington and believe the alleged slayer was still in the capital. After a vain search, the police returned to Baltimore and escorted Diggs to Washington to point out the house. According to Detectives, Diggs Merely was Lying.

Shout Once the Policeman as Negro Shoots
22 Aug 1927
page 22

Lawyer Cries “lookout” as Prisoner Draws Pistol and Fires
Patrolman’s Quick action Saves Him
Forces Man to Knees, Bullet Going Wild; was Calling Wagon when Attacked

A spectators warning shout yesterday probably saved the life of patrolman John coffey, 62-year-old policeman of the northeastern district, One of the Negroes he had arrested suddenly drew a pistol with his left hand and fired. The patrolman, however, was able to force his prisoners partially to the ground and escape the bullet.

The bullet passed through the transom over the door of a nearby store, penetrated the metal ceiling and lodged in the ceiling of the room above where Mrs. Fanny Barnack, wife of the owner of the store, was dressing.

Patrolman Coffey has been cited for bravery seven times during the 23 years he has been a member of the police force.
It was the third time this month that patrolmen in Baltimore have been attacked by prisoners as they were taking them to the station house. On August 6, patrolman William F Doehler of the Northwestern district was shot fatally by a prisoner after he had taken the man to a call box. On August 13, patrolman Harry P Levinson, also the Northwestern district, was forced to shoot a prisoner who had wrestled away his Espantoon and was attempting to beat him.

patrolman Coffey had arrested the Negro, who later identified himself as “Bud” Young, 39 years old, 500 block S. Spring St., and was summoning the patrol when Samuel Greenfield, 1715 East Baltimore St., an attorney shouted “lookout Coffey,” just before the Negro fired. The policeman and prisoner were standing before the barn asked store at 1404 East Baltimore St. at the time the arrest had been made in the block where young lives. Patrolman Coffey walked his prisoner to Baltimore Street and then to Elm Street, where he asked to someone in the store to telephone for the patrol. When the person telephoning asks for his name at the request of the operator at the police station,. Patrolman Coffey called out, “what’s that?” At the time, stepping slightly forward. He held the Negro securely by the right arm, however, as they previously had a tussle in Spring Street.

As a patrolman stepped forward, young drew the pistol with his left hand, Mr. Greenfield asserted.

“I was sitting in a parked car at the corner of Baltimore and Eldon streets and was the only one nearby who could see what was happening, as Coffey and the Negro were partly hidden from view by a number of packing cases,” the attorney said, “something told me that things were going to happen. A few minutes before, I had seen Coffey and a young man struggling in Spring Street as I was passing in an automobile and so I pulled up and parked.” “One Coffey stepped forward to give his name to the man at the phone I saw the Negro draw his pistol, “Lookout, Coffey,” I yelled. Coffey turned and twisted the man’s right arm, pushing him down on one knee just as the pistol went off.”

“The twisting motion forced young to fire upward and the bullet missed Coffey.” “Then I ran forward and put my foot on Young’s left arm so that he couldn’t fire again and Coffey took the pistol away from him.” Mr. Greenfield explained that he had known patrolman Coffey for a number of years. At the northeastern police station, a young man was charged with assaulting and shooting with intent to kill. Caring deadly weapons and disorderly conduct. He will be given a hearing today before magistrate Thomas F. O’Neill


The Sun (1837–1987); Sep 6, 1927;

pg. 24

Negro-Doehler case suspect, caught, flees
Automobile: what’s on way to capital, Report
man answered description of Patrolmam’s Aledged Slayer, Assertion
A Negro believed to be David Perry, sought since August 5 as the slayer of patrolman William F. Doehler, escaped in an automobile with two companions last night after a park motorcycle patrolman had arrested the trio.
The three Negroes, one of whom answers closely to the description of Perry, were placed under arrest by patrolman Robert Brady, on duty on Gwynns Falls Parkway, shortly before 9 o’clock

Brady had stopped the car on suspicion. He saw that one of the Negroes resembled Perry, even to the patch which the alleged slayer wears on his left cheek to cover an abscess. Brady ordered the Negroes to turn the car and drive to the police station while he followed on his machine. As the car and motorcycle traveled on Windsor Mill Road, between Clifton Avenue and Wetheredville Road, Brady’s headlight went out, and a moment later his machine slid into a ditch. The Negro drive an automobile that sped away suicide Street. Brady fired his revolver several times to attract attention and residents of the section notified the Northwest police station, to which patrolman Doehler attached.

Patrolmen Ernest temple, Henry Alexander and Lawrence E. Peters, each driving a light car, were sent to the district and cruised for several hours without finding the fugitive’s. Brady reported that the Negroes had several suitcases in the trunk of the car and told him they were going to Washington. Neither members of the state police at the Laurel substation nor Washington police had been notified late last night to watch for the car. Perry, alias Barry, Perran and Kanard, had been sought by the police of Baltimore and other cities since the day patrolman Doehler was shot and killed at a police call box on Pennsylvania Avenue. The policeman had arrested a Negro on a petty larceny charge and was calling the patrol when his prisoner suddenly drew a pistol, shot his capture and escaped. More than two days in intensive hunting, in which citizens joined with the police, was carried out in the Negroes districts. The search was extended to Washington, where Perry was reported to have been seen, but the detectives failed in their efforts to find him.

DESCRIPTION OF NEGRO Perry is described as a light-skinned Negro, 22 years old, 5 feet seven or 8 inches tall and weighing between 140 and 150 pounds. He has a 3-inch scar on the back of his right arm. On his left cheek is an abscess, over which he usually wears an absorbing patch, held in place by strips of adhesive plaster. It is believed that he will seek medical treatment, as the abscess has been malingering for two years. The Police Department has offered a reward of $250 for the capture of the slayer

7 September 1927
page 3
suspect in Doehler slaying escapes police

All available clue run down without finding Negro fugitive The police last night said they had run down all the clues available without finding David Perry, Negro, as well as the murder of patrolman William F. Doehler. A man believed to be Perry, accompanying two other Negroes, escaped from Robert Brady, a Park policeman, after he had arrested them Monday night. The Negroes escaped when Brady’s motorcycle went into a ditch.

The Sun (1837–1987); Sep 9, 1927;
pg. 26
Negro held in Oklahoma may be Perry The description is said to correspond with alleged slayer of patrolman. Detective to leave for West at once accused friend to go along—indictment to be asked today with the arrest in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, of a Negro named Perry, whose photographs were partially identified yesterday by the wife and several friends of David L Perry, alleged slayer of patrolman William F. Doehler, The police here believed that they were closer to the capture of murder than at any other time since the crime was committed August 5. Lieutenant . Martin J. Manion of the detective bureau, accompanied by Negro who knows Perry well, will leave for the West today in an effort to complete the identification, Capt. Charles H. Burns of the detective bureau said last night.

To Ask for Indictment Today
Robert R. O’Connor, states attorney, said last night that he would go before the grand jury today and asked that Perry be indicted on the charge of first-degree murder. The present term of the grand jury began today. Mr. Gerald O’Connor said that an indictment would be necessary in case the Negro held in Oklahoma City proved to be Perry; an indictment or a governors warrant would be necessary for the extradition.

Photographs Arrive Here
Photograph of Negro under arrest in Oklahoma City Oklahoma, together with a description of him, arrived at the detective bureau yesterday. The description corresponds in every respect to that furnished the police by the wife and friends of Perry. In weight, height and complexion, they are about the same, The man held has a sore on the left cheek, similar to the one from which Perry is said to have suffered for several years. “Looks like him,” wife says One of the photographs of their captive sent here by Oklahoma City authorities was shown to Perry’s wife, Lottie; she said, “it looks like him,” the police reported. William Butler, Negro, a friend and former neighbor of the alleged slayer, and several intimate acquaintances of Perry are said to have made the same statement. Either Butler or one of the other Negroes will compel the detective. The condition of Perry’s wife will not permit her to be taken. Prior to the communication from the Western city, the only picture of Perry in the hands of the police was an enlargement from a snapshot, in which the Negro was depicted wearing a cap with only part of his face showing.

$250 Reward Offered
This picture has been reproduced on handbills offering a reward of $250 for the capture of the Negro. These handbills had been distributed to all the police departments in the country and it was from the one in their possession that the suspicions of the Oklahoma City authorities were aroused.

They checked the descriptions of Perry with the man they had arrested and wrote to the chief inspector, George G. Henry.

The Negro was arrested several days ago on the charge of burglary. He gave his name as Henry James. He refused to talk to the Oklahoma City police, a dispatch from their last night said, detective pointed out yesterday that it was for attempting to pawn a watch believed to have been obtained in a burglary in the northeastern district of Baltimore that patrolman Doehler had placed the Negro believed to be Perry under arrest.

Tried to Pawn Watch

Patrolman Doehler had gone to a pawn shop on Pennsylvania Avenue in response to a call from the proprietor, who said that a Negro was attempting to pawn a watch, the number of which had been reported on the lookout sheet. The patrolman led the Negro to a call box at Biddle Street and Pennsylvania Avenue and called the patrol wagon. Before it arrived, it was said, the prisoner drew a pistol, shot the policeman through the heart, and fled. Patrolman Doehler fired once as he sank to the ground and as he was the best marksmen in the Northwestern district, the police for some time worked on the theory that the policeman’s slayer had been wounded. On the night following the shooting, there were numerous reports that the Negro had been seen around the city. In the Western district, a crowd of 4000 people join the police in a chase which began at Perry’s house in the 600 block of Sarah Ann Street and spread over that section of the city, lasting several hours. On the same night, a room which had been occupied by Perry was searched and a quantity of jewelry, some of which was said to have been stolen in the same robbery as the watch which patrolman Doehler’s slayer tried to pawn, was found. Since that time,. It has been reported in Washington, Woodwardville, Maryland, Alexandria, Virginia, and in nearly every part of Baltimore.

Negro Suspect Escapes

Monday night, a Negro answering the description of Perry was placed under arrest on Gwinn’s falls Parkway by officer Robert Brady, a Park policeman. The Negro into companions, also colored, were in an automobile when Brady’s suspicions were aroused. He ordered the driver to go to the police station, planning to follow the car on his motorcycle. His motorcycle overturned, however, and the Negroes escaped.

The Sun (1837–1987); Sep 10, 1927; p. . 9


Negro held in Oklahoma City says he has never been east of Kansas


detective seeks to identify man who thought murder of Baltimore patrolman - Oklahoma City, September 9 the Negro named Perry, held here for Baltimore police and believed to be David L. Perry, who is accused of shooting a Baltimore patrolman to death August 5, today denied all knowledge of the Baltimore crime and said that he has never been east or north of Kansas. He also said that he is 17 years old and that his mother, two brothers and wife lived in Oklahoma City.

Baltimore Negro was 22

The man wanted by Baltimore authorities is said to be 22 years old and have a wife in the city of Maryland. The Perry arrested here has a sore on the right side of his face. The Negro one in Baltimore has an abscess on the left cheek, but in other respects, the descriptions tally. Perry admitted serving jail term in Kansas for minor offenses last year. Leaves for Oklahoma City Lieutenant . Martin J. Mannion of the detective bureau, accompanied by William Butler, a Negro who knows David L. Perry, left Baltimore late yesterday afternoon for Oklahoma City in an effort to identify the man held there as the Negro salt in the murder of patrolman William F. Doehler. If Butler identifies the Perry held in the West, another detective will be sent to Oklahoma with extradition papers to bring the accused back to Baltimore. Lieut. Mannion is expected to arrive in Oklahoma City tomorrow morning.

David L. Perry was indicted yesterday after several detectives and Butler had testified before the grand jury.

Finds Doehler Met Death at Hands of Negro Berry
The Sun (1837–1987); Sep 14, 1927;
pg. 5

Finds Doehler met death at hands of Negro Barry

The coroner gives a verdict in Killing of Patrolman by Prisoner

Dr. George C. At-Large last night gave a verdict in the fatal shooting of patrolman William F. Doehler. He found that the patrolman met his death at the hands of David L. Barry, a Negro, also known as Perry. The investigation was held at the Western police station. Hillary W. Gans, assistant state’s attorney, questioned a number of witnesses to the murder. The pistol with which Barry is alleged to have shot Doehler was produced. Two taxi drivers who were present at the shooting gave conflicting accounts of the pistol; one claimed that Berry had used the state-produced weapon, while the other denied this. Doehler was killed on August 6 following his arrest of a Negro in a pawn shop on Pennsylvania Avenue. The patrolman took the negro to the box when the prisoner shot him. The Negro is still at large.

More details

End of Watch 5 August, 1927
City, St. Baltimore, Md
Panel Number 49-E: 8
Cause of Death Gunfire
Weapon - Handgun
District Worked Northwestern

1 black devider 800 8 72


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.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Devider color with motto


How to Dispose of Old Police Items

Please contact Det. Ret. Kenny Driscoll if you have any pictures of you or your family members and wish them remembered here on this tribute site to Honor the fine men and women who have served with Honor and Distinction at the Baltimore Police Department.

Anyone with information, photographs, memorabilia, or other "Baltimore City Police" items can contact Ret. Det. Kenny Driscoll at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. follow us on Twitter @BaltoPoliceHist or like us on Facebook or mail pics to 8138 Dundalk Ave. Baltimore Md. 21222

Copyright © 2002 Baltimore City Police History - Ret Det Kenny Driscoll