(Published Saturday, March 11, 1961, pg. 4B)
It was shaping up to be a quiet night.
A crowd was gathered at a local sporting event at Houck Stadium, where Cape Girardeau Police Department patrolman Don Crittendon was on duty and committed to carrying out his last two hours with the force.
Auxiliary Sgt. Herbert Goss, among other officers, was with Crittendon, checking the score and keeping the peace at the game. Goss took the radio call: Two men loitering near Kroger in Town Plaza had caused the store owner to grow suspicious and several officers pursuing a suspect vehicle needed assistance from Crittendon and Goss.
The chase, which would culminate in less than an hour not far from the entrance of Arena Park on Kingshighway, resulted in gunfire and ultimately the death of two officers.
(Published Thursday, Dec. 7, 1961, pg. 1)
Both men were shot, and Goss, according to Al Moore, a volunteer police officer in 1961, bled to death at the scene. Crittendon spent 11 days in a Cape Girardeau hospital before dying of complications from a gunshot wound to the abdomen.
Moore, now 70 and a reserve officer with the department, remembers being at the police station when he heard about the shooting. Like so many nights before, Moore almost rode along with Crittendon that night. He didn't, he said, because he had been riding too regularly.
"I had been riding quite a bit trying to get on the police department; I wasn't 21 at the time," Moore said.
Although Crittendon had less than two hours left as a member of the Cape Girardeau force, Moore said, he was dedicated to his job and wouldn't have abandoned a call just because his time with the department was up at midnight.
(Photo not published; photo by Don Kremer Studio)
Moore said he didn't know Goss too well but remembered he enjoyed helping out as an auxiliary officer whenever he had the chance.
Goss' death was the first at the department since police chief Nathaniel Jefferson Hutson was killed in October 1922. Hutson was killed while seeking to arrest an escaped convict.
The 1961 shooting deaths were also the last time a Cape Girardeau police officer has been shot and killed in the line of duty.
Saturday, March 11, 1961.
After they gunned down Goss and Crittendon, Tucker and Thompson led officers on another chase and left police searching for them through the morning.
They also stole a car from a group of college students at the university, then beat up a farmer in Glenallen, Mo., and took his car. Tucker and Thompson exchanged gunfire with the sheriff in Greenville, Mo., and a state trooper.
Tucker was arrested by 8 a.m. Saturday, when police found him in a wooded area in Bollinger County. He'd also been injured in Friday's incident, suffering from gunshot wounds in both legs and his left arm.
Thompson wasn't captured by authorities until March 17 near Poplar Bluff, Mo.
Tried in a Jackson courtroom in July 1961, Tucker was convicted of murder and given the death penalty. He was executed in July 1963.
Thompson's case stayed with the court much longer; he was tried for the murder of Goss and Crittendon three times. Convictions in Bollinger County and in Mississippi County were both overturned, and he was convicted again in 1984 by a Scott County jury. The third conviction resulted in a life sentence. He was paroled, however, in 1987.
Moore said Thompson has since died, but he didn't know the year.
40 S. Sprigg St., Cape Girardeau, MO