Date: Thursday, February 29, 2024 

Victoria, BC – Today, VicPD officers and staff are remembering one of our own. Constable John Curry’s End of Watch was Monday, February 29, 1864. 

Constable John Curry was a foot patrol officer on duty in the downtown core around midnight, the night of February 29th, 1864. Constable Curry was told that a potential robbery may take place somewhere along Store Street.  

Also in the area was an armed night watchman, Special Constable Thomas Barrett. Barrett found an insecure door at Mrs. Copperman’s store in the alley behind Store Street. Upon investigation, Barrett found a burglar inside the store. He fought with the burglar but was overpowered and struck on the head by a second assailant. The two burglars then fled into the alley and Barrett used his whistle to call for assistance. 

Special Constable Barrett staggered through the store to the outside where he observed a figure rapidly approaching down the dark alley. Constable Curry, who had heard the whistle call, was coming down the alley to assist Barrett. 

Barrett, during his testimony at the “Inquisition” held two days later, stated he was certain that the figure was his attacker or the accomplice. Barrett yelled out, “stand-back, or I’ll shoot!” The figure continued to charge forward, and a single shot was fired, hitting Curry on the right side.  

Barrett frantically blew his whistle and on the attendance of an additional officer, examined the fallen man, discovering that it was Constable Curry. Curry was propped up against an adjacent building and was asked if he had hit Barrett. He replied, “I struck no man.” 

He died at the scene. 

Yates Street at the Time of Cst. Curry’s Death 

Constable John Curry was the second police officer in the Victoria Police Department’s history, as well as the second officer in BC, to lose his life while in the service of others. He had served barely one year. 

The Coroner’s Inquisition into John Curry’s death came back with a verdict of Justifiable Homicide in that Barrett “was an officer paid to protect property and not to run” and recommended that police use a system of special passwords to prevent such tragedies in the future. The press later stated that Police should adopt “a regulation enforcing the wearing of a uniform by every officer.” 

Constable John Curry’s grave is located in the “Old Burying Grounds” now known as Pioneer Park, although the exact site has since been lost. He had no family in Canada and his family in England has never been located. 


Constable John Curry’s memorial plaque in the VicPD Hall of Honour 

Today, the Victoria Police Department remembers our fallen brother, Constable John Curry. 

To learn more about our fallen officers, visit: Fallen Heroes –