By: Keith Dameron, Historian – Colorado Law Enforcement Memorial

Officer Addison Hinsdale, 21, died from a gunshot wound at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, October 4, 1920, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Pueblo. He had been accidentally shot at about 6:30 p.m. the previous day and died from his wound 20 hours later. The bullet went through the stomach and liver and exited out his back. Doctors had thought at first he would survive, but then complications set in.

The situation that led to the shooting was a traffic crash which occurred on the western approach of the Northern Avenue viaduct. A car driven by Halley Butcher was traveling westbound over the viaduct when it was struck by a car driven by Scott Reed. Reed’s vehicle had come from a side street and up the wrong side of Northern Avenue when the collision occurred. Hinsdale and Officer Charles Meyers, walking their respective beats at opposite ends of the bridge, heard the crash and ran toward the scene.

Reed was attempting to extricate his vehicle from the Butcher vehicle. He was apparently intending to flee the scene. Meyers, seeing that Reed was attempting to drive away, fired three shots, aiming at the tires to try and stop the car. One of those rounds, however, struck Hinsdale who was approaching from the far side of the car. The other two rounds missed the car as well. Butcher picked up Hinsdale and took him to St. Mary’s Hospital. Reed was arrested and charged with reckless driving.

Several nearby residents called in to report the gunshots. Neither officer was in uniform so the shooting caused some initial concern. The newspaper reported that both officers had just recently been appointed to the police force and had not received their uniforms and were working in their own street clothes.

Pueblo Police Chief Daly suspended Meyers while an investigation was conducted. Meyers stated immediately after the shooting that he thought that Hinsdale had been hit by a shot from a rooming house on Northern Avenue, but detectives discounted that after their investigation. It was determined that one of the rounds fired by Meyers struck Hinsdale. “Meyers also said he believed that Reed was attempting to escape from the law, and that he felt justified in shooting at the fleeing motorist.” It is not known if Meyers kept his job with the Pueblo Police Dept.

Reed was brought in to Municipal Court that same morning and was found guilty of reckless driving and fined the maximum of $300. He stated that he was driving away because he thought Butcher was shooting at him.

Addison Oliver Hinsdale Jr. was born December 27, 1898, in Colorado. He had worked at the steel mill and later as a truck driver. He married Cora Lavina Williams on May 16, 1919, in Pueblo. He was survived by his pregnant wife, parents Addison O. and Annie Hinsdale; sisters Delores, 19, and Hortense, 13. The funeral was held on Friday, October 8, at the family residence, 227 Jefferson St. and at St. Patrick’s Church. Burial was at Roselawn cemetery. Pueblo officers served as pallbearers. The next day, October 9, Hinsdale’s wife gave birth to a daughter, Addie Arlene Hinsdale, who would never know her father.

An earlier version of this story was published in the CSP Alumni Assoc. newsletter, April 2020

EOW: 4 Oct 1920
Cause of Death: Gunfire (Accidental)

Pueblo Police Department
The Pueblo Chieftain – October 4,5,6,8 & 12, 1920
Ancestry- Library Edition