Officer Melvin Howe

In Memoriam, Lawrence Police Officer Melvin Howe


At 4:30 a.m., on the morning of Friday, April 24, 1931, Officer Melvin Howe and his partner, Officer John Ingalls, were on routine patrol in North Lawrence. Area law enforcement agencies had been notified by authorities in Hiawatha and Brown County, Kansas, that a man had committed two robberies there earlier in the evening.  Then according to accounts, a vehicle matching the description of the car from the Brown County robberies passed the parked patrol car of Officers’ Howe and Ingalls. The two officers followed the car and stopped the driver near Johnny's Tavern, 2nd Street and Locust Street, just north of the Kansas River Bridge.  Both officers and the man exited their respective cars, however, the man had a revolver in his hand and as approached the officers he shot at Officer Howe hitting him once in the heart.  Officer Ingalls later recounted of how he held Howe as he died.  The suspect, who was finally identified as Oney Knight, escaped on foot into the trees and tall weeds that ran along the banks of the Kansas River.  In the subsequent hours and days following the killing of Officer Howe, an extensive man-hunt was conducted, with maps of the areas to be searched being printed in the Lawrence Daily Journal.  Knight was able to flee authorities here, but was eventually captured a short time later in Oklahoma for the killing of Officer Howe.  After several days in custody, Knight was shot and killed by authorities during an escape attempt.

42-year old Officer Melvin Howe left behind a wife and a 13-year old invalid son, Nate. 

Unfortunately, no photos of Officer Howe are known to exist.