Officer Charles E. Carter, 30, was critically injured by gunfire from a drunken man in the vicinity of 624 E. Court Street on Saturday, May 7, 1927. He died at City hospital two days later on May 9.
Officer Carter, while on his district, investigated a report that a drink-crazed man was flourishing a revolver and terrorizing people in the vicinity of Liberty and Washington Streets. He saw the man run down Court Street and ordered him to stop. The suspect disregarded the command, and Officer Carter gave chase.
As Officer Carter approached a home where the disturbance had centered, the suspect barricaded himself behind telephone poles and emptied his revolver, striking Officer Carter and nearby homes. Officer Carter returned fire and then staggered down the alley to Washington Street, falling to the sidewalk.
Officer Carter was rushed to City hospital where it was found the bullet had pierced his lung. While at hospital, he received a blood transfusion from a fellow officer. Officer Carter died on May 9.
The suspect fled the scene on foot, believed to have been injured. Police began a city-wide search, to no immediate avail.
Witnesses reported the suspect, under the influence of liquor or narcotics, had been in the area for some time, threatening pedestrians with a revolver. He had walked up and down both sides of Court Street for several blocks, cursing and shouting at bystanders.
The day after the murder, Tilford Roberts (28) confided to a friend “I got him,” reciting the story of the murder. Word of the confession spread to police who verified the information and were on Roberts’ trail immediately. Roberts and his wife were traced through several Kentucky cities and towns.
During the shooting, Roberts had been hit by two of the bullets fired by Officer Carter. He had fled to Kentucky to get medical attention, but failed to receive assistance before infection set in. Prior to boarding a return train to Indianapolis, Roberts became violently insane and was removed to the Kentucky state insane hospital at Lakeland, Kentucky.
Upon her return to Indianapolis, Roberts’ wife accidentally released information relating to her husband’s whereabouts. This information found its way to police. The sheriff at Louisville was notified, and Roberts was found at the insane asylum. Witnesses were called and identified Roberts as the murderer. Roberts was extradited to Indianapolis where he was jailed on June 21.
Born in Templeton, Indiana, on April 6, 1897, Officer Carter moved to Indianapolis as a boy. He had been on the police force for two months prior to the shooting, having been commissioned early in March 1927.
Officer Carter was survived by his wife of twelve years, Cecel, and two sons aged 11 and 8 years. After her husband’s death, Mrs. Carter told how happy she had been two months ago when, after a period of unemployment, Officer Carter got a place on the force. “He was so pleased with his work and so proud of his uniform. It looked like everything was working out just right for us.”
Funeral services were held at the home, with burial in Memorial Park cemetery. An octet of brass horns from the police department provided music.
Source: Indianapolis Star May 8 -11, 14; June 12, 14, 21 1927. Order for Grave, Memorial Park.