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In Memory of Officer David C. Higginbotham

Date of Death: December 7, 1963

David and I were both in our first year on the department. We first met when we were detailed together at Washington Highlands Recreation Center for a Halloween party. As both of us were from West Virginia, we became good friends as we walked around together.

It was a rainy and cold night on December 7, 1963 when David lost his life. At roll call, a sergeant assigned the Christmas traffic detail at Sears Roebuck to me—an officer from the 11th Precinct was always assigned there during Christmas to assist cars getting out onto Alabama Avenue from the lot. Before roll call was over, another sergeant working that night came into roll call and said he had an assigment change. He told me I was to walk a beat and later link up with an officer to stake out a construction site where someone was taking the construction materials. David was assigned to the traffic detail at Sears, instead.

When we walked into the station at the end of our shift, I learned that David had been struck by a hit-and-run driver and killed. The 4 to 12 shift stayed over that night looking everywhere for the driver and car, who finally gave himself up the next morning. He had been drunk when he hit David.

Later, I asked the sergeant why he switched my and David's assignments at the last minute and he said he didn't know.

— Leonard L. Merryman
Submitted January 1, 2004

Date of Death: December 7, 1963
Rank: Recruit
Age: 23
Years of Service: Three months
Location of Death: Alabama Avenue and 30th Street, SE

Officer Higginbotham was pressed into service for the Christmas detail. While directing traffic at a shopping center, he was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver.

Return to the list of fallen officers.