Officers Jimmy D. Halcomb, James Brennan, Arthur Kennell Jr., Neal C. Splain, Calvin R. Mencken, and Arthur E. Kennell, Jr.
Officer Jimmy D. Halcomb Slain 5 Officers Shot & Wounded April 16, 1976 It was Good Friday in Baltimore. Worshipers, many of them, had returned not too many hours before from afternoon worship services. Others, cleaning up the dinner dishes, were preparing to attend evening services. Many persons were participating in the Passover observances. Still others had spent the ninety degree afternoon in bars, were tilting beer cans on the front steps seeking relief from the steaming temperatures. It wouldn't be accurate to say that it was just a normal April friday. It was too hot, more like July than springtime. It was much too hot.' The sun was crimson as it settled over the Western part of the city. Storefronts, church steeples and rows of houses created shadows which lengthened quickly. It was getting cooler. Officers were patrolling the streets, appreciative of the relief that the quickening darkness would provide. It wasn't really getting busy yet, not for a Friday night. Then the bullets began pouring out of the 1300 block West Lombard Street. The darkness became heavy. A volley from a high powered rifle sent bullets ricocheting along Lombard Street. Another burst and shells wined north on Carey Street. Officers from the Southern, Southwestern and Western Districts responded as did the Quick Response Teams of the Tactical Section. In the military the incident would have been termed a fire-fight. But for the police and citizens, who sought protection and cover it was unreal. It took forty five minutes for the situation to be resolved. The suspect, an 18' year old male, surrendered to officers after telephoning his intentions to the Communications Division of the Department. It became quiet again and the neighbors returned to their front steps. Stories of what had happened were interspersed with personal perspectives. "Where were you when it started?" The press, which had shown part of the incident live to the rest of the state, asked questions. Neighborhood residents appeared on television, they knew what had happened . . . they saw it all. For police there began the laborious task of reconstructing the incident which left one of their brothers mortally wounded, five others sustaining gunshot wounds. Evidence was collected, photographs made, statements prepared. This process would continue for a long time. At University Hospital medical specialists quickly administered to the injured. Families arrived, some relieved that their loved ones were not injured. Others heard the dreaded news. Shock, emotion and grief were real. It affected everyone. Officer Jimmy D. Halcomb was 31 years old. Assigned to the Operations Unit of the Western District he had been one of the first to arrive at the scene. The sniper fired a round which penetrated the automobile Officer Halcomb was using for cover. He lost consciousness immediately and seconds later he was gone Officer James Brennan Twenty-five year old Officer James A. Brennan of the Western District was crouching behind a van a few feet south on Carey Street. He went down, seriously wounded. The other officers behind the van made him as comfortable as possible Officer Arthur Kennell,Jr. Officers Neal C. Splain, 28, Officer Calvin R. Mencken, 33, and Officer Arthur E. Kennell, Jr. 27, all of the Southern District were hit by a shotgun blast which came from the rear of the building. A civilian was also wounded Officer Neal Splain Officer Calvin Mencken, Jr. Officer Halcomb's funeral, on April 20, was attended by hundreds of officers from more than fifty police jurisdictions. His family, scores of friends and neighbors heard the words of hope and consolation spoken from the altar. The distance to the cemetery was short but the walk was long. At the conclusion of the brief ceremonies they gave Mrs. Angela Halcomb the American Flag and we said goodbye to a brave officer. Officer Roland Miller Officer Roland W. Miller, 23 of the Western District, who was beside Officer Brennan sustained a minor wound in the left arm. They were to wait long minutes for relief.