ARCADIA — Officials unveiled a new memorial to the only Arcadia police officer to be killed in the line of duty Thursday, on the 85th anniversary of his murder.
Officer Albert Edward Matthies, 27, was gunned down when he came upon three men in a stolen car who were preparing to rob a business just before midnight on July 18, 1927, officials said. He died from his wounds early the following morning.
After more than a year of planning spearheaded by the Arcadia Police Officers’ Association, officials and family members of the fallen officer gathered to unveil a black granite monument to Matthies at his final resting place at Live Oak Memorial Park in Monrovia.
“I think it’s great that they’re still remembering him,” said Matthies’ great-granddaughter Sheryl Straub of Covina. “I’m just tickled to death that I get to be a part of this.”
Officials including Arcadia Police Chief Robert Guthrie and former chiefs Robert Sanderson and Neal Johnson joined fellow police and fire officials, as well as Arcadia Mayor Robert Harbicht, to commemorate Matthies’ sacrifice an unveil the 3-foot-tall, polished memorial emblazoned with a photograph of the officer.
Matthies daughter, Zora Kristufek, said she appreciated the gesture.
“This is something special,” she said.
Kristufek, 90, said she was only 6 years old when her father was murdered.
“The one thing I remember is that he was a big, happy man.”
Matthies granddaughter, Roxana Perez, travelled from her home in Arizona to attend the ceremony.
“I was very impressed with the memorial and the ceremony,” she said. “It was very touching.”
“I’m just glad there haven’t been any other officers killed in the Arcadia Police Department,” Perez added.
At the time of Matthies’ death, the Arcadia police and fire departments were a unified agency, and Matthies also served as assistant fire chief. Matthies also served in the Army during World War I.
The three men who murdered Matthies were found several days after the slaying in Los Angeles and arrested, officials said. The shooter died in prison, while the other two suspects died shortly after being paroled.
A plaque placed near Foothill Boulevard and Northview Avenue marks the location of the fatal shooting.
Additionally, the APOA recently established a scholarship fund in the officer’s name, which presents a $2,000 scholarship annually to a local high school student who has served the community, officer and APOA Director Daniel Tea said.
An inscription at the base of the monument reads, “Officer Matthies made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty and in service to the city of Arcadia. You will not be forgotten.”