Fort Worth Police and Firefighters Memorial
Memorial Location

The memorial is located on the north end of Trinity Park along West 7th Street. It occupies approximately five acres of park. » Get Directions

Hours of Operation
5:00am - 11:30pm
The displays and paths are always illuminated.

Contact Information

By Mail
3801 Hulen Suite 101
Fort Worth, Texas 76107

By Phone

A promise of remembrance.

Joseph Burch Loper


Length of Service:
One Month

Date of Injury:
October 20, 1920

Date of Death:
October 20, 1920

Location of Incident:
Texas & Pacific Railroad Yards - Main @ Lancaster

Cleburne, TX

Joseph Burch Loper was a Fort Worth Police “Special” Officer, and was assigned to the Frisco Freight Yards on Eighth Avenue in Fort Worth. On October 20, 1920 at about 8:00 p.m., Officer Loper left the Frisco yards and rode a train over to the Texas and Pacific yards to head into town for a meal. While walking through the Texas and Pacific Reservation, he was accosted by a man who pointed a handgun at him and told him to put his hands up. Officer Loper declined, stating, “I guess not” and reached for his pistol. The man opened fire and shot Officer Loper in the chest. A second bullet smashed through Officer Loper’s pistol and hand. The man then fled the scene. Officer Loper was taken to a hospital where he gave a description of what had happened. Officer Loper told the other officers that he was attempting to arrest the man for trying to rob him when the shooting started. Officer Loper died at 1:20 a.m. on October 21, 1920. Officer Loper was buried in Cleburne, Texas.

A man, Ernest Vickers, was arrested the following year near Belton, Texas, and was later convicted of the murder. He was assessed the Death Penalty.

This offense and Loper’s status as a special officer was documented by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on October 21 and 22, 1920, and by the Belton Journal on June 2, 1921. Officer Loper’s death was also documented by Texas Death Record Index # 33198 and corresponding death certificate. The appellate court case regarding the murder of Officer Loper by Ernest Vickers is attached. Other documentation not directly relating to Officer Loper was a record of Special Officer from 1911. This record includes an Officer assigned to the Frisco Freight Yard, as was Officer Loper. This was not included, as it does not directly pertain to Officer Loper.

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