Lester Jones
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Sergeant Lester Jones - Died February 7, 1933

Lester Jones

Sergeant Lester E. Jones, 52, was killed on February 7, 1933, when he and a squad of officers interrupted a hold-up at the People’s Motor Coach Company at 22nd and Yandes Streets.  Sergeant Jones was struck down by machine gun fire as he entered the door.  Later, five members of the Foggy Dean gang, including the gunman Willie Mason, were arrested and given life sentences at the Indiana State Prison.

With a squad composed of patrol officers Michael McAllen and Willard Hawkins, Sergeant Jones had gone to the bus company office and garage to investigate a report of trouble early February 7.  As the police car came to a stop in front of the bus company office, Sergeant Jones and Officer McAllen alighted and started toward a door.   Unaware a robbery was taking place and believing the reported trouble was a fight or scuffle among employees, the two approached the garage door empty-handed.

Sergeant Jones reached the door first.  As he pushed it back, one of the hold-up men shouted, “Here they come, boys, let them have it.”   Sergeant Jones did not have an opportunity to draw his own revolver before three machine gun slugs tore through his body.  Wounded twice in the abdomen and once in the left arm, Sergeant Jones died at the scene.

Officer McAllen emptied his revolver at the machine gunner and they exchanged shots at a distance of not more than 15’.  Officer Hawkins then rushed in with his revolver in one hand and a sawed-off shotgun in the other.  None of the police officers’ shots was believed to have struck the suspects.

The bandits fled through a rear door, spraying machine gun fire as they left.   Unable to move their car (which had been stolen) out of the garage because the door was blocked by Officers McAllen and Hawkins, the bandits ran east to the Nickel Plate railroad and then south.  Their trail was picked up in the snow at 21st Street in an alley west of the railroad and traced to 19th and Bellefontaine Streets.   The tracks were lost after a short distance.

The robbery and shooting were witnessed by several bystanders who had hidden to avoid the spray from the guns and who provided police with descriptions of the suspects.  About one month later, Mason and the four other members of the gang were arrested in Erlanger, Kentucky, and held for the murder of Sergeant Jones.  At the time of the arrest, Mason was found suffering from a shotgun wound to his foot which later necessitated amputation of the lower part of his leg.

During the next year, Mason and one of other gang members escaped from separate jails, but were recaptured.  Retrials were convened for Mason and a second gang member whose first trials failed to result in a verdict.  Eventually, all five members of the gang were convicted and sentenced to terms of life in prison.

The Foggy Dean gang was also believed to have committed several other robberies during the winter of 1932-3.  Ammunition fired in one of the robberies was identified by a police ballistic expert as identical to that fired from the guns of the bandits who killed Sergeant Jones.

Sergeant Jones was survived by his wife, Goldie, and two sons, J. Elwood Jones and Bertram T. Jones.   He was buried with full Masonic honors at Crown Hill Cemetery.  More than 300 people, including 100 police officers, braved the bitter weather to fill almost every inch of available space at the O.R. Wald funeral home for the services.  

Source:  The Indianapolis Star, February 8-10, 1933; August 23, 26, 1934; November 11, 13-14, 1934.  Logansport Pharos Tribune, December 27, 1935.  Indianapolis Directory, 1940.