Dell McIntyre was a "Night Watchman" for the Riverside Police Department in February of 1912.
He had been a member of the department for about a year and was assigned to the Arlington Station, located near a fire station at
Magnolia and Roosevelt streets. (In fact, the fire station had an enclosed holding cell inside the building for police use).
The City of Riverside had an on-going problem with transients in 1912, particularly in the Arlington area of the
City. Officer McIntyre was aware of this fact and, according to the Riverside Daily Press, made regular rounds of the local barns,
farmhouses and orange groves to guard against the "Depredations of the hobos."
On the night of February 3rd, Officer McIntyre was checking a barn at the corner
of Indiana and Jefferson streets when he found a transient who had broken in and had prepared to spend the night. Officer McIntyre
searched the man and found he had "burglary tools", a police billy club and a bottle of strychnine.
Officer McIntyre arrested the man and walked him to the Arlington Sante Fe depot
where he locked the suspect in a box car and then made a telephone call to Police Headquarters. Officer McIntyre told the Chief
what he had found and was subsequently instructed to take the "Electric car" downtown and book the suspect
Officer McIntyre walked his suspect down Van Buren Blvd and when they
reached Canal Street, the suspect ran into the nearby orange groves. Officer McIntyre gave chase and fired warning shots at the suspect's
feet until his revolver was empty. As Officer McIntyre closed the distance between himself and his arrestee, the suspect suddenly
turned and fired one shot from a .25 caliber revolver which was believed to have been hidden in the sleeve of his clothing. The
bullet struck Officer McIntyre squarely in the body and he fell to the ground.
A doctor, who lived nearby, heard the shot and found McIntyre calling for
help. The doctor began to render medical aid and called other area doctors for help. A call was made to the police station as well as
to Riverside General Hospital and an ambulance was sent.
All eleven Riverside Police Officers (including the Chief) hurried to the scene of
the shooting and began a vigorous search for the suspect. The Sheriff of Riverside and his deputies searched into Ontario, Chino and
finally into Orange County. The Sheriff of San Bernardino and his deputies took over the river bottom search from Colton and continued
into their County.
The Riverside Chief of Police deputized fifty men and raided local stores for their
guns and ammunition. Dozens of posse's searched for the suspect. One included the Mayor of Riverside and one included the ex-mayor, both
armed with rifles. The manhunt lasted for three days and included more than two hundred men before it was called off.
The Riverside Police Department offered a $150 reward for the capture of the suspect,
$50 of which was donated by the Chief (The Chief's salary in 1912 was $125 a month). However, the suspect was not captured.
It is not known why Officer McIntyre did not handcuff his prisoner or how he missed the
revolver in the suspect's sleeve during the search. On this topic, Chief of Police Coburn said, "His only fault is an inclination to be too easy with the
prisoners and I believe his actions toward this thug was the cause of his being wounded. The man (suspect) was a wise fellow, whoever
he is. He waited until McIntyre had emptied his gun, counting the six shots, turned on him and then shot him like he would a dog."
Officer McIntyre was taken to the hospital where it was found that the bullet had lodged
itself in the Officer's spine, causing paralysis of his lower body. The doctors believed that Officer McIntyre's injury was fatal and he was
able to give a dying declaration to the Coroner.
However, McIntyre did not immediately die from his injuries. He was wheelchair bound as a
result of the paralysis and lived an apparently painful life for five more years. Despite the pain and suffering, the Riverside Daily Press noted that
McIntyre never uttered a complaint and was well cared for by his family.
Officer McIntyre passed away in July of 1917 at 38 years of age. He is buried at
Evergreen Cemetery in Riverside.
Research and article by Officer Brendan Carney