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William J. Grissam

The death of Officer William J. Grissam, while in the line of duty, came under mysterious circumstances. At about 5:15 a.m., on Sunday, March 20, 1932, Officer Grissam was discovered lying unconscious in the street at John Marshall Park at Pennsylvania Avenue and 4th Street NW. The bicycle on which he was patrolling was found nearby with damage to the handlebars and frame. He was taken to Emergency Hospital by a passing motorist and died shortly thereafter.

 Investigators first explored the possibility that he had been struck by a hit and run driver. This conjecture was soon dismissed in favor of the theory that the 54-year old fell from his mount after suffering a stroke.

The coroner’s report revealed that Officer Grissam had sustained a fractured skull and chest trauma. Investigation revealed dents in the fender and rear license of a parked car at the scene, it was determined that the officer’s bicycle had collided with the unattended vehicle and injuries in the fall caused his death.

From the Archives of the Washington Post



Private W. J. Grissam, 54, Is Found Lying in Street; Inquest Tomorrow.

March 21, 1932.

Police last night were working on the theory that Private William J. Grissam, 54-year-old United States Park policeman, who died early yesterday in Emergency Hospital shortly after being brought there by a taxi driver, who found him lying in an unconscious condition on John Marshall place near Pennsylvania avenue northwest, was the victim of a "hit-and-run" driver.


March 23, 1932

A coroner's jury yesterday decided that Park Policeman William J. Grissam, 54, came to his death early Sunday morning after his bicycle collided with a parked automobile on John Marshall place near Pennsylvania avenue. The jury viewed the damaged bicycle and the auto with which it collided.

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