Allan George Lee
Appointed March 1, 1937
During the early evening hours of Saturday, September 10, 1949, Detective Allan George Lee1, Badge No. 231, was shot and killed by a robbery suspect who had been in an earlier shootout with other officers in the City of Saint Paul.
Janssen’s Liquor Store at 365 University Avenue was robbed at about 1510 hours (3:10 p.m.) on September 10, 1949. After the holdup, Mrs. Willie Woods gave the police a description of the suspect. Two uniformed officers working “Squad 326” saw the suspect, Oliver Crutcher, 30, of 227 Rondo Avenue, at University Avenue and Virginia Street. They followed him south on Virginia where, at Central Avenue, the officers pulled alongside him. Patrolman Richard H. Rowan2, Badge No. 240, told the suspect at gunpoint to take his hands out of his pockets and approach the car. The suspect quickly stepped out of the line of fire, drew his .38-caliber revolver and fired four times. The officers initially believed he was using blanks because the car was not hit. The suspect then turned and ran. Rowan followed on foot and Patrolman Theodore C. “Ted” Fahey3, Badge No. 221, followed in the car. Rowan fired five times as he ran. At Virginia and St. Anthony Avenue, the suspect hid in some bushes and Rowan could not find him although they continued the search for several hours. Later, officers searched a residence at 365 Louis Street and found the jacket worn by Crutcher in the holdup along with an amount of .32-caliber and .38-caliber rounds of ammunition.
At 1915 hours (7:15 p.m.), police received a tip that Crutcher could be found at 324 St. Anthony Avenue in the City of Saint Paul. While Detective Lester E. McAuliffe4 and others entered through the back, Detectives Lee and William H. Crowell5 approached the front porch with guns drawn. Also present were the aforementioned officers Rowan and Fahey. Lee was interviewing one of the tenants at the front door when he observed the suspect in the living room. As Lee attempted to enter the doorway, Crutcher jumped up and opened fire with a .38-caliber revolver, striking the detective at least twice. Lee fell to the floor and the suspect jumped over the officer and fled the scene. Detective Lee died shortly thereafter at Ancker Hospital from gunshot wounds to the head and abdomen.
Officers then searched a residence at 339 Rondo Avenue where police were told the suspect had been seen in the back of the house. As officers began the search, gunfire was heard inside and Patrolman Odean J. Jackson6, Badge No. 300 & 473, was later found on the floor with a gunshot wound to the thigh. He couldn’t say what happened but he was believed to have been hit by another officer’s bullet.
Around 2100 hours (9:00 p.m.) officers went to the suspect’s home on the second floor of 227 Rondo Avenue where 3,000 spectators had gathered after hearing of the detective’s murder. Officers fired tear gas inside and three patrolmen, James S. Griffin7, Jesus John Mercado8, Badge No. 387, and Vernon P. Michaels9, Badge No. 387, then went in with gas masks. Others soon followed. They found the suspect under a bed. As Crutcher crawled out from under the bed and stumbled toward them, officers began firing. The suspect was hit several times and died before reaching the hospital. He was a suspect in at least two other robberies. Police arrested two other men during the manhunt, believed to be accomplices in those robberies.
Although police personnel records state that Allan George Lee was born on February 8, 1907, other records including his birth certificate indicate that it was February 9th. Raised in Saint Paul, forty-two year old Allan George Lee had been with the Bureau of Police since March 1, 1937 (twelve years), and had been a detective for the past eight months. He was survived by his wife, Geneva, and two children, James and Karen. Detective Lee’s funeral was on held Tuesday, September 13,1949, at Como Park Lutheran Church, and he is buried at Roselawn Cemetery, Roseville, Minnesota.
1 Allan George Lee was appointed Patrolman March 1, 1937; was promoted to Detective February 18, 1949; and was fatally injured by gunfire while pursuing a robbery suspect on foot Saturday, September 10, 1949.
2 Richard H. Rowan was appointed Patrolman October 13, 1947; was promoted to Detective June 20, 1965; was promoted to Deputy Chief April 17, 1964; was appointed Chief of Police June 30, 1970; and retired December 31, 1979.
3 Theodore C. Fahey was appointed Patrolman October 13, 1947; was promoted to Sergeant September 16, 1955; was promoted to Lieutenant December 18, 1965; was promoted to Captain December 9, 1972; and retired April 20, 1981.
4 Lester E. McAuliffe was appointed Patrolman March 24, 1936; was promoted to Sergeant December 16, 1947; was promoted to Detective March 16, 1948; was promoted to Detective Lieutenant December 1, 1949; was promoted to Assistant Chief November 15, 1955; was appointed Chief of Police May 23, 1961; and retired March 31, 1970.
5 William H. Crowell was appointed Patrolman November 1, 1937; took Military Leave May 15, 1942; returned to duty November 26, 1945; was promoted to Detective March 16, 1948; and retired February 26, 1973.
6 Odean J. Jackson was appointed Patrolman November 21, 1938; and retired May 8, 1968.
7 James Stafford Griffin was appointed Patrolman (reserve) August 6, 1941; was appointed Patrolman (permanent) August 1942; was promoted to Sergeant September 16, 1955; was promoted to Captain March 2, 1970; was promoted to Deputy Chief October 6, 1972; and retired August 31, 1983. Griffin broke the “glass ceiling”, becoming the first Black male in the department to be promoted to the above ranks.
8 Jesus John Mercado was appointed Patrolman July 6, 1948; was promoted to Sergeant June 26, 1957; was promoted to Lieutenant July 19, 1971; and retired August 24, 1983.
9 Vernon P. “Boots” Michel was appointed Patrolman March 1, 1937; was promoted to Detective March 1, 1962; was appointed License Inspector June 2, 1964; and retired January 19, 1978.