Arcadia police officer slain in the line of duty honored

53786-Albert Matthies 1-thumb-300x466-53785.jpg

ARCADIA — Tuesday marked the 84th anniversary of the murder of Arcadia police Officer Albert E. Matthies — the only department officer ever slain in the line of duty.
The 27-year-old officer, a World War I veteran who also served as the city’s assistant fire chief, had been on the force for six years when he was fatally shot as he approached a car with three men in it, parked near Foothill Boulevard and Northview Avenue just before midnight on July 18, 1927.
“Officer Matthies was unaware that the men were preparing to conduct a robbery at a business nearby,” Arcadia police Sgt. Tom Le Veque said in a written statement. “The rear seat passenger was Frank Miller. Miller pulled out a .45-caliber handgun and shot at Matthies, striking him in the neck.”
The officer died of his wound at 12:07 a.m. the following morning.
To honor his memory, about two dozen Arcadia police officers stood in an honor guard for the fallen officer Monday through early Tuesday.
“Officers from our department from about noon until seven (minutes) after midnight manned the post,” Sgt. Brett Bourgeous said.
The officers took turns standing solemnly in pairs in 30-minute shifts.
Matthies’ one surviving daughter, 89-year-old Zora Kristufek, attended the ceremony. She was 6 years old when her father was gunned down.
The ceremony was organized by the Arcadia Police Officers’ Association, said Officer John Jurman, the APA president.
“Every officer that was there was there on his or her own free time,” Jurman said.
Officials including Arcadia Mayor Gary Kovacic and newly selected Arcadia Police Chief Bob Guthrie paid their respects.
Passing members of the public also offered words of support for the department and officer Matthies as well, officials said.
The three 18-year-old suspects escaped after the shooting, but were arrested within days in Los Angeles, officials said.
“The three suspects were later convicted of the murder of Officer Matthies and sentenced to prison,” Le Veque said. “The shooter died in prison. The two accomplices were later paroled and died shortly after release.”
Monday and Tuesday’s event was the first honor guard officers have held for Matthies in recent history, but Jurman said it won’t be the last.
“This was the inaugural event, as we’re going to do this annually for as long as we can,” he said.
A permanent plaque memorial at Foothill Boulevard and Northview Avenue also commemorates the officer’s sacrifice.
“What strikes me is he was only 27 years old when this happened,” Jurman said. “And a survivor of World War I.”
A small plaque currently marks Matthies grave site at Live Oak Memorial Park in Monrovia, officials said.
With the permission of the family, Jurman said, the APOA is in the process of procuring a larger, standing headstone as a tribute to Matthies.
“We need to honor this man and keep his memory alive,” he said.

Facebook Twitter Reddit Tumblr Linkedin Email