Fallen Hero Obituary

Law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty in Massachusetts

Sheriff George A. Bills Age: 72 years old Tour: 22 years Palmer Police End of Watch: Tuesday, February 25, 1919
Sheriff George Bills was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a fleeing suspect who was aboard a train that stopped in Palmer.

Sheriff Bills and Officer Charles B. Thomas received word that a person suspected of shooting Springfield, Massachusetts, Police Lieutenant James Daly had boarded a train bound for Palmer. When the officers arrived at the train station they located the suspect on the train. When they approached the suspect he attempted to flee, shooting Officer Thomas once in the leg and Sheriff Bills three times in the abdomen as he ran. Officer Thomas fired two shots at the suspect, striking him. The suspect was taken into custody, despite their injuries, with the help of passengers. Sheriff Bills was transported to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries later that day.

Officer Thomas was treated but survived and went on to become Deputy Chief of the agency. The Springfield officer, Lieutenant Daly, also survived his injuries.

The suspect was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to life on May 10, 1920. He was pardoned by Governor James Curley on December 25, 1936. It was later discovered the suspect's father paid a member of the governor's council 1500 dollars to recommend the pardon. He along with a state representative, who tried to cover up the bribe, were impeached and found guilty of perjury.

Sheriff Bills had served with the agency for 22 years and was survived by his wife, sister, and two nephews.

Remembering …

mlemf-logoOver 340 law enforcement officers have lost their lives while protecting the citizens of the Commonwealth. This encompasses state and local police, federal, sheriff and correction officers.

The Massachusetts Law Enforcement Memorial will serve as a permanent reminder of their dedication and ultimate sacrifice.

Our Strength is in their Memories