END OF WATCH: March 6, 1929
Cleveland Police Department
Patrol Officer Carl Sherman was a 9 year veteran of the Cleveland Police Department, and was assigned to the Ninth Precinct Station at West 25th and Althen Avenue. Officer Sherman was also a decorated officer, honored for acts of Exceptional Bravery in rescuing the lives of 25 people during a building fire.
On March 6, 1929, Officer Sherman and his partner, Sergeant Hoffman, were informed the night watchman at the Auto Service Garage on East 79th Street, was held up for 60 dollars at gun-point and the thieves escaped in a gray Cadillac.
Around the same time, an informant called the Ninth Precinct advising of two men acting suspiciously on a deserted part of Jennings Road. The caller advised the men appeared to be changing the license plates on a car. Patrolman Sherman and Sergeant Hoffman were dispatched to Jennings Road to investigate.
Upon arrival, the vehicle was just pulling away at which time Hoffman jumped from his patrol car and onto the suspect’s running board. Hoffman pulled the suspect from the car just as Sherman arrived to assist. Sherman observed two guns on the suspect and grabbed them, taking control. At the same moment, the driver exited the vehicle with a gun, Hoffman yelled, “Look out! Gun!” The gunman shot Sherman 3 times. Officer Sherman was wounded in the left chest, the arm, and back.
Hoffman pushed his suspect away and rolled to the ground. The gunman ran toward Hoffman while firing and emptying his gun. A bullet struck Hoffman in the chest, flattening against his breast bone. Another entered his chest above the heart, and exited from under his left arm. The third, hit him in the cheek removing a gash of flesh.
As the gunman returned to his car, Hoffman staggered to his feet and fired two shots at the suspect he originally pulled from the vehicle. The suspect fired back, returned to the car and as it pulled away, Hoffman fired his last four shots at the vehicle. With his gun empty, Hoffman retrieved the shotgun from the police car. Just as he aimed at the suspect’s vehicle, a school bus suddenly drove into the line of fire, allowing the suspects to escape.
Additional Police arrived shortly thereafter, transporting Sherman to the hospital where doctors began emergency surgery. His wife, May was notified and showed heroic courage commenting Carl loved his job and this was the second time something happened to her husband.
Sgt. Hoffman provided investigators descriptions of the two gunmen which was sent over the teletype. All detectives were called to duty where the largest manhunt to date was launched.
Many suspects were brought to the station including the two involved. John C. Lord, alias “Williams,” and Charles Habnick, alias “Hanovich,” were arrested and prosecuted.
John Lord was sentenced to the electric chair and Charles Habnick received a life sentence.
Carl Sherman’s name is inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall, Washington, D.C. panel 47, west wall, line 4.
By Recruit Patrick M. Livingston, Cleveland Police Academy