Detective Harry W. Vosper is shot and killed by a fleeing murder suspect on July 20, 1949.

  • By Dave Wilma
  • Posted 5/22/2002
  • Essay 3814

On July 20, 1949, Seattle Police Detective Harry W. Vosper (1907-1949) dies from a bullet fired by a fleeing murder suspect. Vosper is off duty and assisting other officers who had cornered James Jackson.

James Jackson was under investigation for shooting a man whom Jackson believed was harboring Jackson's estranged wife. Detectives found Jackson's car at his residence, 311 22nd Avenue and ordered the car impounded at 12:30 a.m. As tow truck driver Donald M. Reed was hooking up the car, Jackson came running out of the house and shot Reed. Jackson exchanged shots with two officers and fled back to the basement.

Detective Vosper was off duty and heard the call for assistance. He went to the scene where Officer W. G. Scott had pursued Jackson into the basement of the house. Jackson was holding Scott at bay in a coal bin. Officers threw tear gas into the house allowing Officer Scott to escape.

After more tear gas, Jackson broke out a window and crawled through. He made a dash for freedom and shot Vosper. Two other officers shot Jackson. Both Jackson and Vosper died at Harborview Hospital.



Michael D. Brasfield, "An Examination of the Historical and Biographical Material Pertaining to the Violent Deaths Involving Seattle Police Officers (1881-1980)," (Undergraduate thesis, University of Washington Library, 1980), 92.

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