On August 27th, 1914, Detective Richard Levis would become the fourth Vancouver police officer to be killed in the line of duty. He was investigating a stabbing from earlier that evening. The suspect, T.T. McKillarney-also known as "Mickey the Dago"-- had stabbed the victim, Thomas Hoggan, in a dispute in a nearby café. At 22:45 hours Detective Levis in company with Detective Malcolm McLeod attended the suspect's shack located at 732 Alexander Street. Detective McLeod covered the lane in case the suspect tried to escape and Detective Levis knocked on the front door. A woman answered and stated that the suspect was not there; but she was lying as he was hiding in the bedroom, armed with a sawed off shotgun. Detective Levis suspected she was lying and decided to search the shack. He cautiously approached the bedroom armed with his revolver in his right hand and his flashlight in his left. As he opened the bedroom door, McKillarney was waiting in ambush and suddenly shot Detective Levis point blank in the chest. Detective McLeod upon hearing the shot ran into the shack to help and Detective Levis fell into his arms exclaiming, "He shot me. He never gave me a chance." Detective Levis died from his wounds in the hospital two days later.
The suspect escaped and fled to his native United States. He was arrested a few months later, hiding out in Chicago, and returned to Vancouver to stand trial. He was convicted based on the testimony of a material witness, Byron Martin. Byron Martin was a morphine and cocaine addict who had sawed off the shotgun for McKillarney. The accused was sentenced to death and hanged.
Ironically, Detective Levis had arrested the killers of Constable Archibald just one year before.
Detective Levis was awarded the Vancouver Police Medal of Valour posthumously by the Police Commission on August 29th, 1914. It was awarded to his widow who later joined the Vancouver Police Department as a matron and served for many years.
Richard Levis: policeman, husband, father, 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."