Officer Walter P. Mathys
Walter P. Matthys
On 11 September, 1964, at approximately 12:13 p.m., Officer Matthys responded to a call for a disturbance at Edythe Street and Central Avenue. While talking to the suspect, he assaulted Officer Matthys. During the struggle, the mentally deranged subject grabbed the young officer’s gun and shot him. As the officers slumped to the ground, the suspect continued to shoot while Officer Matthys’ body laid on the ground. The officer was shot five times and witnesses reported that the suspect “just walked away.” Officer Matthys served in the U.S. Army from January 23, 1961 to January 22, 1964.
Central and Edythe Streets
On September 11, 1964 in Baltimore City Police History 1964, we lost our brother Police Officer Walter Patrick Matthys based on the following. Officer Matthys was fresh out of the academy, as he walked a foot post in Baltimore’s Eastern District. He was full of pride and enthusiasm as are most Baltimore Police officers at that stage of their careers. Officer Matthys came on at a time where rookies learned their own way, they walked their post and were more often molded into the police they would become by the people they meet, the good folks in the community teach them compassion, the criminals teach them respect, respect for life, respect for what’s right, and respect for the laws, laws that would be used as a tool to control those that are on the wrong side of it. Officer Matthys first day of patrol was September 7th 1964 just five days before he would walk foot and find himself on the corner of Central and Edythe Streets where he would meet up with a suspect simply known in the area as “The King” – The King aka Cleaven Dupree was recently released from a mental hospital. In fact Dupree had been in and out of jail and metal hospitals most of his life 43 arrests for various crimes and 11 times to Crownsville Mental Hospital to be exact. Dupree was called “The King” because everywhere he went he was seen wearing a crown studded with costume jewels. He was most commonly known for the Crown he wore, but was also known for his constantly getting into trouble. Veteran officers know who the trouble is on their post(s). Even a seasoned rookie will get to know who they need to watch out for, and who they need to get back-up for before approaching, or approaching with a plan. But times were different in 1964, no radios to call for a back-up, and some of the old timers didn’t take rookies under their wing and teach them the ropes the way they did after this incident took place. In this case a young rookie, approached a suspect for disturbing the public, he tried to talk to him, tried to calm him down, but the suspect only got louder, became more of a public nuisance and the young officer had no choice but to tell him he was under arrest. Officer Matthys proceeded to grab Dupree by his belt to take him into custody when Dupree already distraught quickly came up with other ideas; he became more agitated and began to fight Officer Matthys in one of the most violent, and vicious manners anyone of the many witnesses has ever seen. Dupree was a tall, skinny, delusional man full of anger and rage; and he quickly overtook the young inexperienced officer, taking him by surprise he grabbed him round the waist and threw him to the ground. Storeowners and other onlookers looked on with horror as this known mental patient had an advantage over the young officer, fighting him to the ground and then while on the ground, it wasn’t over. The officer was down and had no way of defeating Dupree, Dupree had won, but it wasn’t enough, he would continue assaulting Officer Matthys punching and kicking him while he was down until he eventually reached down and ripped the young officers gun from its holster and began to unloaded it into the officer’s body. During the initial fight several witnesses called the station to get help for Officer Matthys, but none of the witnesses themselves would come to his aide; they all just stood in shock and just watched as a young man was being killed while they waited for police to come do what few others have the courage to do. After firing the officer’s gun into him, and obviously killing him, Dupree would stand over his lifeless body and fire more shots into him, until the gun was empty, then he simply walked away as if nothing had happened. Police quickly swarmed the area where they had no trouble locating and arresting Dupree, he was still wearing his toy plastic crown.
Officer Matthys was taken to Church Home Hospital where he was pronounced dead from his injuries. Dupree was captured and eventually taken to court where he proved to be unable to stand trial, so he was taken to Crownsville where he would remain for the rest of his life.
Officer Walter P. Matthys served the city of Baltimore for just 5 days, and on the 5th day he taught us all a lesson that would somewhat change the way things were done, the way veterans would treat rookies. Some veterans remained hard asses but for the most part, veterans would slowly begin to give warnings to the young rookies, telling them what to look for, and what to lookout for, how to handle mental patients, trouble makers and hard core criminals. All of this was of little conciliation to Officer Walter P. Matthys’ young widowed bride, for not only was Officer Matthys new to the department, but he was also newly married to Mrs. Shirley Anne Mattys who he left behind.
As his brothers and sisters of the Baltimore Police Department we will not let him be forgotten, His service Honored the City of Baltimore, and the Baltimore Police Department may he rest in peace, and may God bless him.
|End of Watch||11 September, 1964|
|City, St.||Central and Edythe Streets|
|Panel Number||53-E: 5|
|Cause of Death||Gunfire|
|Weapon||- Officer's Handgun|
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