Officer Sherard was walking his foot beat in the University District when he encountered Knute Lindberg, James McCourt, and Leo Burns robbing Jamieson's Drug Store located at 4759 University Way NE. One of the men shot at Sherard and he returned their fire. Sherard was hit in the neck and he managed to wound McCourt. The men fled in a car. Sherard died four hours later at Norwegian Hospital.
The robbers proceeded to rob four drug stores, two service stations, and a grocery store. Seattle Police launched a manhunt and arrested 60 men at the Blackstone Hotel located on 8th Avenue near Pine Street. From among that bag of prisoners, robbery victims identified Knute Lindberg as one of the robbers. A drug addict, Lindberg ultimately cooperated with officers.
Lindberg identified his confederates as McCourt and Burns and admitted to more than 30 offenses. A twist was added to the case when a cab driver volunteered that he had Lindberg as a fare shortly after Sherard was killed. Lindberg was accompanied by two women and Seattle Police Officer H. J. "Garrity" Nerein and the four visited numerous road houses in south King County and in Tacoma. Nerein was, at that time, assigned to the special squad that was searching for Sherard's killer. Nerein was suspended, but later reinstated onto the force.