Two off-duty Seattle police officers at a bootlegger's warehouse are shot and killed by the night watchman on July 24, 1916.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 5/23/2002
  • Essay 3811
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On July 24, 1916, Sergeant John F. Weedin (1870-1916) and Officer Robert R. Wiley (1888-1916) are shot and killed off duty by the night watchman at a bootlegger's warehouse in downtown Seattle. The watchman also dies. The owners of the warehouse are charged with Weedin's murder, but charges are dropped.

Sgt. Weedin and Officer Wiley had been working 12-hour shifts during a Longshoremen's strike. After their tour of duty, they joined five women at a rooming house downtown. The group decided to drive to the University District in a borrowed automobile.

For unknown reasons, the officers and their companions stopped at a warehouse at 2128 Westlake Avenue, known to be used by bootlegger brothers Logan and Fred Billingsley. Officer Wiley got out of the car and went to the back of the warehouse. Night watchman Ichibe Suehiro saw Wiley and a gunfight resulted. Wiley and Suehiro were both wounded. Suehiro went to the waiting car and shot Weedin. The five women fled. Weedin was dead at the scene and Suehiro and Wiley died a short time later.

The Billingsley brothers were charged with Weedin's murder and they posted $20,000 cash bail within five minutes of their arrests. Seattle Police, led by Mayor Hiram Gill (1866-1919), cracked down on retail operations suspected of selling the Billingsleys liquor. They totally destroyed the establishments, leading the proprietors to obtain a court injunction against the city to stop further property damage.

Charges against the Billingsleys were dropped for lack of evidence. Weedin was survived by a widow and four sons. Wiley was survived by a widow and a son.


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), 32-36; Richard Berner, Seattle 1900-1920: From Boomtown, Urban Turbulence, to Restoration (Seattle: Charles Press, 1991), 212-214.
Note: This essay was revised on July 26, 2016.

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