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Fallen Greenfield officer remembered

Died from gunshot wound after stopping a burglary in 1933

GREENFIELD — Eighty years ago, Greenfield Police Officer Albert C. Jordan succumbed to injuries received while apprehending an armed robber.

Jordan, 49, was shot on Aug. 7, 1933, during a struggle with a Brooklyn, N.Y., man who was leaving the scene of a failed armed robbery. Jordan died the following day.

Harry Clay Bull, 21, had stolen a Chevrolet coupe from a Brooklyn garage in the previous month, and robbed a Connecticut gas station on his way north through that state.

In Greenfield, sometime after dark on that August night, he pulled the Chevy up to a pump at the Main Street Shell station.

After filling up, he asked attendant Arthur Manix if he could go inside to warm up on the brisk night. The two swapped small talk for awhile, and then Bull pulled out a .22-caliber pistol, and told Manix he was robbing him.

But Manix refused to give up the station’s money, saying he was bonded and would be responsible for the cash. They argued back and forth, and when a milk truck pulled up for fuel, Bull told Manix to go fill it up, but to keep his mouth shut.

Manix told the driver the station was being robbed, and asked him to get police. When he got back to Bull, he told the gunman police were on their way.

Jordan was responding to the call as Bull was casually strolling back to his car, trying not to look suspicious. He was back at his car at the gas pump when Jordan stopped and questioned him. Bull pulled out a counterfeit police badge he’d bought in New York, and tried to convince Jordan that he was a fellow officer.

Jordan didn’t buy it and asked Bull for credentials, which he couldn’t produce.

Still giving Bull the benefit of the doubt, Jordan conducted him into the station, and told him to call someone who could vouch for him.

The officer asked Bull if he had a weapon and was beginning to search him when, according to Manix’s later testimony, Bull struck Jordan and pulled a blackjack from his pocket.

As they struggled, Manix was able to intervene and get the weapon away from him.

But while Bull and Jordan wrestled on the station floor, the robber’s gun went off, and the bullet hit Jordan in the abdomen.

After the officer was shot, Manix — still trying to help —grabbed the gun and was shot through the hand.

Despite his injury, Manix managed to knock Bull unconscious with his own blackjack and call for additional help.

The gunman was then taken into custody.

After a three-day trial in Superior Court that October, Bull was found guilty of first-degree murder. He would spend the final four months of his life in Suffolk County Jail. That December, Justice Thomas Hammond sentenced Bull to death.

He made no appeal of his verdict or sentence, and met his end in the electric chair in February of 1934.

Officer Albert C. Jordan, a 12-year veteran of the force, remains the only member of the Greenfield Police Department ever killed in the line of duty.

On Wednesday, the department marked the anniversary of Jordan’s fatal injury by lowering the flag to half staff, and observing a moment of silence during roll call. Officers also donned black armbands in honor of Jordan’s death.

David Rainville can be reached at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

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