12. 1935 - 1936

About 3:05 p.m. on March 21, 1935, Officer Clifford Stang lost his life in the service. He was fatally wounded when he entered the clothing store of Conlin & Wetherbee while a holdup was in progress. He had reported on duty at three o’clock and intended to make a purchase of a tie clasp first thing. As he walked into the store, the two merchants and what appeared to be three customers were in the rear of the store, one of the “customers” trying on a coat. One merchant called to the officer saying that they were being held up. Apparently, the officer did not believe them for no one seemed to be in distress. As he walked further into the store, one of the felons assaulted him with a gun while the other disarmed him. A fight ensued and the officer was wounded fatally in the chest. Death was immediate. He is the only officer ever killed in action in the history of the department.

The city lost one of the finest policemen it ever had. “Sid,” as he was better known to the members of the department, was a good officer and friend. The loss to the department was great indeed.

Exactly one year to the hour later the murderer was returned to the city having been apprehended in Los Angeles, California while looting an apartment. He was identified through fingerprints. Shortly before the shooting occurred here, he had been released from the Michigan State Prison and identification was made by a photograph of the suspect. Copies of his fingerprints were secured and mailed to every police department in the United States and foreign countries having an identification bureau. The result has been explained. He was returned to Ann Arbor by Chief Lewis Fohey, Sergeant Mortenson and Prosecutor Albert Rapp on March 21, 1936 at 3:30 p.m.

William Padgett, alias William Hayden, alias “Shorty” Hayden was the criminal apprehended, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment and is now serving that sentence.

The Common Council of the City of Ann Arbor passed a resolution on April 15 [1936] similar to the one you have already read on the death of Chief O’Brien. Roland J. Gainsley was appointed to succeed Stang, starting duty on April 15, 1935.