John W. Thomas
On July 29, 1933, Minneapolis police cruiser cars were called to the
home of Anderson Aitken, at 3608 Snelling Avenue So., after the
demented Negro engaged in a fight with a construction crew behind his
house. Aitken then barricaded himself in the attic.
John W. THOMAS was one of several policemen sent to the house. As they
started up the stairs to arrest Aitken, Patrolman THOMAS fell wounded
with two gunshot wounds in the abdomen and left thigh, when the
stairway was swept by gunfire from the pistol of Aitken.
Patrolman THOMAS was taken to General Hospital by ambulance.
riot call was placed to police headquarters and Chief Joseph Lehmeyer
and a squad of detectives rushed to the scene with rifles, shotguns and
tear gas bombs.
Aitken refused to surrender, but after
a liberal dosage of tear gas was sprayed into the attic, Aitken was
finally dislodged and arrested. He was taken to city jail where he was
held on a charge of 2nd degree murder.
After a week in
the hospital, Patrolman THOMAS died unexpectedly on August 5th, as
attendants had held out hope of his recovery. Apparently making
progress on the road to health, the wounded policeman was talking with
a friend, Patrolman Earl Kletschka, only a few minutes before he died.
He had a sudden sinking spell and died a few moments later.
THOMAS was 32 years old, and a seven year veteran of the police
department. He was survived by a wife and child. He lived at 5509
Thirty-second Avenue So.
THOMAS was buried in his hometown of Sisseton, South Dakota on August 8, 1933.
Hennepin County Grand Jury found Anderson Aitken to be declared insane
and the case was stricken. Aitken was committed to the state mental
hospital at St. Peter, Minnesota.