On November 5th, 1927 Constable Ernest Sargent was walking a one-man beat on the westside of Vancouver, in the area now known as District Four.
At 04:30 hours he had just called the police station from a call box, as he was required to do every hour. He reported to the dispatcher that everything was fine and hung up the phone. Just then he noticed a suspicious male across the street walking northbound toward him in the 2700 Alder St. Constable Sargent crossed the street to intercept the male and investigate what he was doing. As the male approached him, he could see it was a Chinese male about 40 years old, Constable Sargent challenged him and asked him what he was doing out so late. The male mumbled a reply and continued walking as if to walk around the constable blocking his path. As he walked by he suddenly drew a hidden .38 caliber semi-automatic pistol and shot Constable Sargent in the stomach at point blank range. He fired a second shot but missed. Despite being wounded, Constable Sargent managed to draw his service revolver and fire all six shots after the suspect as he ran away. He staggered back to the police call box across the road and phoned for help. A neighbor who happened to also be a doctor heard the shots and came out to investigate. He found the wounded policeman, helped him into his house and administered first aid until the ambulance arrived. In the hospital Constable Sargent remained conscious and managed to give a detailed description of the suspect. He was also able to pick out the suspect from a mug-shot book. The suspect was identified as a Chinese male by the name of Leong Chung. He was a well-known criminal at the time. A warrant was issued for his arrest.
Surgeons operated on Constable Sargent but they were unable to stop the bleeding, he would die five days later from his wounds on November 10th.
The same day as the shooting crime scene investigators found fresh evidence of an attempted Break and Enter in a nearby house at 2720 Alder. There were footprints in the soft dirt underneath a basement window and a small woodpile was knocked over. Chung was undoubtedly planning to break into the house when something disturbed him.
The suspect, Leong Chung, was arrested several days later in Victoria. However, he was found not guilty at the trial.
The case remains officially unsolved.Ernest Sargent: policeman, husband, brother, son. "We Shall Never Forget You.""All the stories and words on this site were written from the heart, by Sgt. Steve Gibson. They are the result of research and interviews by Cst. Tod Catchpole with families and friends of the officers killed in the line of duty. For the sake of authenticity, the stories appear exactly as written and have not been edited by the site creators. While the Vancouver Police Department stands by the stories, visitors to this site should accept that they may contain minor factual inaccuracies."