a revolver battle at close range, Jerry McCarty, escaped convict and
known as one of the most desperate criminals in America, and Patrolman
Joseph Ollinger killed each other on July 11, 1911 at Central and
Twenty-fifth Avenues N.E. The hunted man, cornered, did just what the
policeman expected him to do, opened the first fire. Patrolman Ollinger
fired almost at the same instant. McCarty fell first and Ollinger, with
six bullets in his body, fell on him.
The battle, which eclipses
any in the annals of the Minneapolis police, was fought alone by the
two men, watched at a distance by bystanders who had been warned away
by the policeman.
The death of the two men ends a search for McCarty which had extended
throughout the United States, while McCarty, who had escaped from
Stillwater penitentiary on March 4, 1911, continued his career of
The gunfight with Patrolman Ollinger strangely resembled one which
preceded the capture of McCarty in October, 1909, when he shot at
Patrolman Jonas Jonassen, but missed fire and wounded himself in the
hip. It was for the attack on Jonassen that he was serving the
Stillwater sentence when he last escaped.
Patrolman Ollinger had seen McCarty hanging about pool rooms in the New
Boston district for several days. Early on July 10, 1911, after a
conference with Ollinger, Captain of Detectives Nick Smith said
Ollinger had the right man.
Kissing his wife goodbye, Patrolman Ollinger said as he left home on
July 11th, “There may be something doing tonight,” and then left to go
on his night watch. From that moment on he was after McCarty. He saw
McCarty at Central Avenue and Twenty-fourth Avenue and followed him
slowly to Twenty-Fifth Avenue. There McCarty turned and walked along
Twenty-fifth Avenue to the rear of the drugstore. The fugitive stopped
at the rear entrance and Patrolman Ollinger turned into the store.
is at your back door and I’m going to get him,” said Ollinger to the
druggist. “Anyway, there’s going to be trouble.” Then Ollinger left the
drugstore and walked straight around to the rear door, where McCarty
stood in the shadow.
As he walked toward McCarty,
Ollinger met a friend from the fire department, who had just passed
McCarty. He told his friend to get back onto Central Avenue. “There is
going to be some shooting here in a minute and I want you to be out of
the way,” he said in a whisper as he passed the fireman.
Then he walked straight to McCarty.
The proprietor of a poolroom at 2502 Central Avenue heard Patrolman
Ollinger say: “McCarty, I’ve got you now or you’ve got me.”
Then McCarty opened fire and Ollinger followed. Each man emptied the
chambers of his revolver almost in a second. Just as the firing ceased,
McCarty fell with a bullet through is heart and Patrolman Ollinger,
shot six times through the body, fell on him.
When they were still, several men who witnessed the fight ran to them. McCarty was dead, but Ollinger still lived.
headquarters was at once notified and the patrol and police ambulances
were sent. Patrolman Ollinger was rushed to the city hospital where he
died at 1 a.m. on July 11th. McCarty’s body was taken to the morgue.
Detectives at once went to the morgue to identify the body and Captain
Nick Smith and Captain Frank Ferm both positively identified the body
as that of McCarty.
the hospital the physicians tried to save Patrolman Ollinger’s life but
their efforts were fruitless. Every bullet in McCarty’s gun had taken
effect. Five entered his abdomen and one went through his neck.
Ollinger’s aim too, had been almost perfect, for his first shot is
thought to have caused McCarty’s death. One bullet went through
McCarty’s heart and another entered his head near his left eye. An
autopsy on his body showed that the aorta, the largest artery in the
body, had been severed by Ollinger’s bullet. The bullet entered the
left side and passed downward through the intestines.
the two men clinched, the police are certain, although the place where
they fought was dark and the combatants could not be seen plainly.
McCarty’s nose was broken and his head was badly bruised as though the
policeman had beaten him.
A district businessman had
come out of his store at 2500 Central Avenue just as the battle began.
“At 11:45 I started to close my store,” he said. “I was locking the
rear door when I heard a pistol shot, and, glancing across the street,
saw two men kneeling on the sidewalk alongside the building. I ran out
and heard Patrolman Ollinger’s voice. “Shoot again, shoot again,” he
repeated to the man under him and after each exclamation another shot
was fired. I think there were seven shots. As I walked up I saw that
Ollinger was sitting upright on the other man’s chest. ‘I got you,
partner, but I guess you got me,’ said the officer and then he began to
groan and sway from side to side.”
At this point a crowd of young men, attracted by the shooting, rushed
out of the barber shop and poolroom at 2502 Central Avenue. The first
man to reach Patrolman Ollinger and McCarty said the policeman asked
him for assistance. “The policeman was sitting on the other man and as
he turned, pointed his revolver directly at me and I started to run,”
he explained. “Hurry up and get a doctor,” he said, and then he fell
forward. Others approached at that time and the wounded officer was
carried into the drugstore. The doctor who attended him said he seemed
to rally and asked that his wife be called.
Ever since McCarty escaped from the penitentiary at Stillwater, reports
had come to the police that McCarty was still keeping at his old trade.
These rumors were in part substantiated when his clothing was searched.
In the clothing was a diamond stickpin, $55 in cash, two large
revolvers, ammunition and small articles of jewelry.
of Police Michael Mealey said that many crimes had been charged to
McCarty whose record was as long as that of any criminal in the world.
While he had served but four prison terms he had been arrested many
times and charged with crimes which could not be proven. Many of the
crimes charged were spectacular. Chief Mealey also believes that
McCarty intended to rob the pharmacy on Central Avenue, which would
have been closed within a few minutes, had he not been waylaid by
Patrolman Ollinger was an
experienced policeman, and had a good record in the department. He was
52 years old, married and lived at 800 19th Avenue N.E. He was six foot
three inches tall and his physique made him an adversary worthy of the
powerfully built McCarty.
Every member of the police
force that could be spared attended the funeral of Patrolman Ollinger
on July 18, 1911. The service was held at his home, then a platoon of
horse mounted police and a squad of policemen on foot escorted the body
to St. Clement’s church, Twenty-fifth Avenue N.E. and Quincy Street.
After the principal services there, the divisions of police escorted
the body to St. Anthony cemetery where the interment took place.