First Baltimore officer killed on duty stabbed more than 200 years ago today

March 14, 2012|By Peter Hermann

Today marks the anniversary of the first Baltimore police officer killed in the line of duty. It occurred March 14, 1808, and the officer, Night Watchman George Workner, died the following day. Justice came swiftly, as you'll see in this description from the Officer Down Memorial Page:

Night Watchman Workner was stabbed to death during a jail break of nine inmates from the Baltimore Jail.

The inmates had fashioned pewter keys and picked the locks to their cell doors. Then they attacked the guards with a small knife one of the inmates had obtained. Watchman Workner was stabbed in the side during the escape and died from the wound the following day.

Four of the nine inmates were apprehended and sentenced to death for Watchman Workner's murder. Their execution date was set for April 22, 1808, but they again attempted to escape two days beforehand. That escape attempt failed and they were hung in the jail's courtyard at noon on April 22, 1808.

The memorial page lists 123 city police officers killed in the line of duty since then, the latest Officer William H. Torbit Jr., mistakenly shot by his colleagues in January 2011 outside the Select Lounge. Read coverage of that case.

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