|Death: ||May 24, 1914|
On Sunday, May 24, 1914 Deputy Arthur Taylor was slain in the performance of his duties as a deputy sheriff for the Harris County Sheriff's Department. Deputy Arthur Taylor was appointed as a Special Deputy under Harris County Sheriff Frank Hammon on Saturday afternoon, May 23, 1914. Sheriff Hammond deputized Arthur Taylor, who was black, for the purpose of going into the black community on the near north side of downtown Houston to try and apprehend a black male suspect who was terrorizing the neighborhood with a rifle. There were also officers from the Houston Police Department assigned to apprehend the same suspect. One of the city officers was Detective Isaac "Ike" Parsons, who was also killed along with Deputy Taylor on this fateful night in May 1914.
Superintendent of Police Ben S. Davidson for the Houston Police Department had given an assignment for officers John Richardson and Edmond Cordona to proceed to the same area that Deputy Taylor was assigned to patrol. Houston Police Detective Isaac "Ike" Parsons, one of the few black officers in the Houston Police Department at that time, was due to work with Officer Richardson on Saturday night in an effort to apprehend this suspect. Detective Parsons, however, had called Night Police Chief Dunham to inform the department that he would not be able to accompany the other officers, but instead had gone into the area alone in an attempt to apprehend the suspect. Officers' Richardson and Cordona, therefore, proceeded to the area without Detective Parsons.
The Houston Police Department officers were not aware that Deputy Taylor had also been assigned to work in the same area to search for the suspect. Officer Richardson and Cordona rode the Liberty Road trolley out of Houston to the area of Nance and Schwartz Streets. They arrived in the area around midnight and began talking to people in the neighborhood about the suspect.
At approximately 12:35 a.m. while they were conducting the investigation they heard gunshots. Officer's Richardson and Cordona were aware that another pair of officers (Bryson and Lyons) were also in the area looking to arrest the same suspect. They immediately feared that these officers might have gotten into trouble so they ran to the area where the gunshots came from. Upon running to the area they heard two more gunshots in rapid succession.
Deputy Taylor and Detective Parsons also heard the gunshots and ran to the same area. This is when tragedy struck.
Officer Richardson saw a black male running toward them in the darkness and he shined his pocket light on him. Officer Richardson noticed this male (Deputy Taylor) had a pistol in his hand. Officer Richardson ordered him to stop and throw down his pistol. When he refused, Officer Richardson began shooting and struck Deputy Taylor two times, killing him instantly. Detective Parsons, who also responded when he heard the gunshots, jumped across a drainage ditch and ran to the scene of the shooting. Officer Richardson had dropped his light, but he and Officer Cordona, seeing another black male (Detective Parsons) approaching them with his arm raised and a pistol in his hand, began to fire their pistols at Parsons striking him four times. Detective Parsons also died at the scene. It was later determined that neither Deputy Taylor nor Detective Parsons fired their weapons.
It was not until officers Richardson and Cordona had an opportunity to take a closer look at the two deceased males that they recognized Detective Parsons as one of the dead officers. They did not recognize Deputy Taylor because of his short tenure as a deputy sheriff.
Harris County Deputy Sheriff Arthur Taylor and Houston Police Detective Isaac "Ike" Parsons lost their lives due to a case of mistaken identity while in the performance of their duties as law enforcement officers for their respective departments.
Thirty-five-year-old Deputy Taylor had been commissioned as a Deputy Sheriff for just a few hours before his tragic death.
Created by: D. Sjolander
Record added: Jun 16, 2010
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