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 Arthur B. Crusey, Policeman

Arthur B. Crusey

Thursday, May 25, 1911

Crusey, Arthur B.

Rank: Policeman

Serial Number:Unknown

Division: Unknown

Location: Main St / Hollywood Fwy. Across from the
Federal Building

Date Killed: Thursday, May 25, 1911

Cause of Death: Shot by a Robbery Suspect

It was late May 1911. There were
forty-six states in the union as Arizona and New Mexico awaited
statehood. Los Angeles' population, still a modest 320,000, would
soon burgeon into a major metropolitan area. William Mulholland
promised to deliver water, that most precious commodity, to a city
whose growth had been limited by the chaparral covered semi-desert
terrain. Mulholland, true to his word would complete an aqueduct,
carrying water from the Owens valley, to Los Angeles, by November
5, 1913. With water, growth was unleashed and Los
Angeles'population grew at a seemingly exponential rate.

Arthur B. Crusey was born around 1887 in Indiana to John and Mary
F. Crusey. Arthur grew up in the 31st Ward in Chicago, Illinois,
where his father was a brickmason. His maternal grandparents were
born in France and his mother also spoke French. By 1910, the
Crusey family had transplanted to Los Angeles, where the senior
Crusey found work as a bricklayer. Arthur now aged twenty-three,
appeared set to follow in his father's footsteps in the brickwork
industry until fate stepped in.

On February 8, 1911, Arthur B. Crusey joined the Los Angeles Police
Department. His boyish looks earned him the name "baby faced
policeman" amongst his peers. His youthful appearance made him a
perfect candidate to work a plainclothes detail in the Metropolitan
squad, where Crusey worked the many clubs and saloons which
littered the area now occupied by the Los Angeles Children's Museum
and United States District Court building. It was in the infamous
Miami Club where Crusey had busted one of the many gambling
operations that went on inside the saloons.

However, Crusey was also a newlywed and his young wife Elsie,
dreaded his undercover assignment. She purportedly begged him to
work what she perceived as the "safer" detail of patrolman. After
three months of undercover work, Crusey relented and asked for a
patrol assignment. In early May 1911, Crusey was reassigned to
patrol and given a footbeat in the area of north Main Street and
what today is the Hollywood freeway, but what was then Commercial

On the evening of May 25, 1911, Arthur Crusey was walking a
footbeat on north Main Street, working what today would be a "late
PM" watch. Around 10:00 p.m. he observed a tall thin man, later
identified as a parolee from San Quentin prison, named John I.
Crossley, removing a bicycle from a pawnshop. When Patrolman Crusey
ran at Crossley and yelled at the parolee to halt, the suspect
instead answered with a shot from a .38 caliber revolver, which was
loaded with dum-dum rounds.

Crossley fled with Crusey in tow. As Crossley fired several more
rounds, one caught the ill-fated Crusey in the upper right torso.
As the gunshots echoed through the cool overcast Los Angeles night,
a crowd of spectators was drawn to the noise including a Los
Angeles County Sheriff's deputy named P. Solomon. As Crusey
collapsed into the arms of the crowd, he alerted Solomon that
Crossley had fired all six rounds from his revolver. With this
information, Solomon gave Chase to the fleeing felon, who had
served six years of a fifteen-year sentence for burglary.

Solomon, apparently fleet afoot, soon chased down Crossley. As
Solomon reached out and grabbed Crossley from behind, the desperate
convict raised his revolver over his left shoulder and fired back
at the deputy. The round struck Solomon on the left side of his
mouth, shattering several teeth and his jaw in the process. Solomon
also collapsed from the serious wound. Crossley, who was also an
admitted opium user, continued his flight from the area.

However, several LAPD officers were alerted to the shooting and
began saturating the area. Crossley ran eastbound on Commercial
towards Los Angeles Street, before running onto Aliso Street. As he
doubled back towards Commercial, Officer G. M. Greeley observed the
suspect and opened fire. None of the rounds found their mark and
Crossley continued running desperately trying to escape the
additional officers who were arriving. As Crossley climbed over a
fence, Patrolman B. C. Croft caught sight of Crossley. Croft
sounded his police whistle to alert attention to his location.
Greeley and Sergeant Willet climbed the fence after Crossley and
immediately drew their weapons at the felon.

At this point, Crossley found himself in the crossfire of two
lawmen, Greeley and Sergeant Willet. He threw both hands into the
air, though still armed with the revolver in his right hand and was
arrested. Crossley was transported to Central Station where
detectives attempted to question the tight-lipped convict.

Patrolman Crusey and Deputy Solomon were transported to Receiving
Hospital, which was located on the northwest corner of Spring and
1st Street. Crossley was also taken to the hospital, where both
patrolmen were able to positively identify him as their assailant.
Surgeons then began a desperate effort through the evening to save
the lives of the two law enforcement officers.

As the night faded into morning, so too did the life flow out of
Patrolman Crusey. He succumbed to a gunshot wound that entered
through the right side of his torso and perforated his right lung,
before exiting from his lower left back.

At the time of his capture, Crossley was suspected in several
street robberies and burglaries which were plaguing area where
Crusey first observed Crossley burglarizing a pawnshop.

Funeral services for Patrolman Crusey were held on May 31, 1911.
Among the honorary escorts for his body were Sergeant J. F. Toolen
and Patrolman J. Kronschnable, both of who would die in the line of
duty in October 1915 and December 1916, respectively. Crusey was
survived by his parents Mr. and Mrs. John Crusey, and his wife
Elsie, who was pregnant at the time of Crusey's death. Arthur B.
Crusey was buried at what today is called Angelus-Rosedale
Cemetery, located at 1831 West Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles.
His gravestone may be viewed on the cemetery's website.

Lieutenant J. A. Macias, #27710,

(last updated: 12/7/2010)

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