The Paseo Massacre – 1948

The Paseo Massacre took place September 20, 1948 in Kansas City Missouri. Its name comes from the location, Paseo Boulevard and 14th Street. Three POlice officers were killed that day by two offenders. A week later, another officer subsequently died of his wounds. An innocent bystander was also killed by POlice gunfire during the shootout. One offender was killed by POlice gunfire that day and the other was executed in the gas chamber 15 months later.

Paseo victim officers

Sequence of events

  • Saturday, September 18, 1948 – William Bell is arrested at 1334 Paseo Boulevard in Kansas City, Missouri by POlice officers Charles Neaves and Sandy Washington for disturbing the peace. Bell is required to post a Peace Bond.
  • Monday, September 20 – the same officers are dispatched to the same address for a disturbance call.
  • They find a drinking party in progress, which was a violation of Bell’s Peace Bond. Neaves and Washington inform Bell that they are taking him into custody.
  • Bell’s brother, George, protests the arrest and is also placed under arrest.
  • Making a pretext, George Bell produces a shotgun and shoots Officer Neaves in the stomach.
  • William Bell then takes the shotgun from his brother and shoots Officer Washington as he tries to escape. Officer Washington is killed by the shotgun blast.
  • William Bell then takes Officer Neaves’ revolver and executes him with it by shooting him behind the ear.
  • Neighbors call the POlice requesting additional Officers.
  • William Bell exits the apartment and takes a shotgun from the POlice vehicle Officers Neaves and Washington arrived in. He establishes an ambush position outside the building for responding Officers
  • George Bell and his girlfriend flee the apartment and go to his apartment.
  • Officers Charles Perrine and Officer Langley arrive and immediately come under fire from Bell.
  • Officer Perrine is killed and Officer Langley takes cover.
  • Sergeant William Wells and Officer Keiffer Burris arrive. They also come under fire from William Bell, firing the shotgun, and are both wounded.
  • Officers Earl Scott and Rodney Knight arrive in a fourth POlice car and open fire on William Bell.
  • Bell is killed by the gunfire. He dies with Neaves’ revolver in hand and falls on top of the shotgun he took from the POlice vehicle.
  • Edwin Burton Warren, an innocent bystander, is shot and killed by Officer William Smith as he attempts to escape the shootout by running north on Paseo Boulevard.
  • George Bell is later arrested at his apartment. Bell admits that he had served part of a 10 year sentence for killing a soldier while he served in Algeria during World War II.
  • Seven days later, Sergeant Wells, who had seven wounds and been shot through the right lung, dies of pneumonia in hospital.
  • December 8, 1948, George Bell is tried and found guilty of Officer Neaves’ Murder by a Circuit Court Jury. The jury deliberates only a little over four hours. Bell is sentenced to die in the gas chamber.
  • Bell’s execution is set for March 25, 1949.
  • His execution is stayed pending an appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court. After his appeal is rejected, George Bell is executed on December 2, 1949 at 12:01 a.m. at the Missouri State Penitentiary.
  • Officer Burris survives his wounds. He is later promoted to Sergeant. Unfortunately, he dies 12 years later in a training accident.

The Kansas City POlice Memorial page is located here.

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  1. […] The Paseo Massacre – 1948, Claude Werner, The Tactical Professor […]

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