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FATAL SHOOTING OF S.L. OFFICER BY ANGRY GAMBLER STUNNED S.L.

SHARE FATAL SHOOTING OF S.L. OFFICER BY ANGRY GAMBLER STUNNED S.L.

Salt Lake police officer Thomas F. Griffiths had his prisoner in custody and was walking to a police callbox at the corner of 200 South and 100 West when the man got away.

The officer caught up with the fugitive at the rear of the Sweet Candy Co., 220 S. 100 West, where the man drew a gun and killed Griffiths with three shots from the .32-caliber auto-matic pis-tol.In the wake of the June 16 shooting death of Utah Highway Patrol trooper Dennis "Dee" Lund, the violence of the scenario is strikingly familiar to Utahns. But in the Griffiths case, the incident occurred 80 years ago on June 25, 1913.

The story of the fallen officer is remembered this year as Griffiths is honored by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund as one of all officers who died during the month of June. By dusting off the account of the fourth Salt Lake City officer killed in the line of duty, Memorial Fund leaders urge the public to remember its fallen heroes.

An account of the incident, published in the June 25, 1913, edition of the Deseret Evening News, tells of the impact felt by the community when one of its own watchmen took a fatal blow.

"The murder of Patrolman Griffiths cast a pall of gloom over the police department and in fact over the entire city," the story said. "Mayor Samuel C. Park hurried to headquarters and offered all the assistance he could render. His automobile was pressed into service to take policemen to various points to aid in the search for the murderer.

"The news of Patrolman Griffith's murder quickly spread, and hundreds of citizens gathered in front of police headquarters," according to the Deseret Evening News. "The department was notified of the murder within a few seconds after it occurred, and a score of patrolmen and plainclothes men dashed to the scene and scoured the surrounding country for the murderer."

Giovanni Anselmo, an immigrant whose age was not listed, was drinking and gambling in the Shamrock Lounge, 219 W. 200 South, when he lost the roll of the dice and refused to pay up, the Deseret Evening News said. Instead, Anselmo pulled a gun and razor and severely cut his opponent in the back of the neck about 9 p.m. on the Wednesday night in 1913. Anselmo fled the scene but later returned. The injured man had located Griffiths, who handled the case alone.

Anselmo was shot as he ran through a yard on Love Court, 550 S. 450 West. He was struck in the buttocks by shots fired from police and taken into custody.

"Little Tommy" Griffiths, as the officer was known in the department, was 39 and the father of six children when he died. He and his wife, the sister of another police officer, lived at Pierpont Avenue. He was born in south Wales and had been with the Salt Lake City Police Department for six years at the time of his death.

Griffiths' name is listed among his peers at the memorial in Judiciary Square in Washington, D.C.