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Frederick August Peitsch

Appointed June 11, 1917
Ht: 5’9” Wt: 169#
End of Tour Tuesday, February 23, 1926

Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota
[Minnesota Death Certificate No. 1926-MN-023439]

Fatally injured in gunfire by two “bootlegging” suspects.


Photo of Frederick Peitsch

At 0330 hours (3:30 a.m.) on Tuesday, February 23, 1926, Patrolmen Frederick August Peitsch1 and John Schultz2, working out of the Rondo Avenue Substation, were shot and killed while questioning two possible “bootlegging” suspects on Laurel Avenue in the City of Saint Paul.

It was at that time and date that Mrs. Thomas Cameron and her daughter Sadie heard loud talking and three shots outside their home at 889 Laurel Avenue. They went to the window and saw Patrolman Peitsch lying near the curb, suffering from bullet wounds. Patrolman Schultz, who was shot through the back and was trying to get to the squad to get a shotgun, had collapsed near the middle of the street. As the women watched in horror, a gunman walked over to Schultz and fired a few inches away from his head. He then walked over to Pietsch and did the same. After checking to see that they were dead, he got into a black car and left the scene. Pietsch had been shot a total of eight times and Schultz, three.

The officers’ squad was later found parked on the left side of the street with two sawed-off shotguns and a revolver left in the vehicle. It was believed the officers might have known the gunmen who were possibly bootleggers and the officers were known to be strict in enforcing the prohibition “Dry Laws”.

The suspects, Virgil Baker, 26, L.P. Ovett, 25, and Merrill Beards, 20, were subsequently arrested on Thursday, February 25, 1926, in Menomonee, Wisconsin. Ironically, the officers’ funerals were being held at the very time of the arrests.

Born on January 26, 1883, and raised in Dakota County, Minnesota, forty-three year old Frederick August Pietsch (later changed to Peitsch) had been with the Bureau of Police since June 11, 1917 (nine years), working most of his years out of the Rondo Avenue Substation. He was survived by his wife of four years, Anna Matilda, and two daughters, Anna Catherine and Lorraine Caroline. Patrolman Peitsch's funeral was held on Thursday, February 25, 1926, at Saint Paul's Evangelical Church, and he is buried at Roselawn Cemetery, in what is now Roseville, Minnesota.

1 Frederick August Peitsch was appointed Patrolman June 11, 1917; and was fatally injured in gunfire by two “bootlegging” suspects Tuesday, February 23, 1926.

2 John Schultz was appointed Patrolman (temporary) June 16, 1919; was appointed Patrolman (permanent) September 1, 1919; and was fatally injured in gunfire by two “bootlegging” suspects Tuesday, February 23, 1926.