Name: Constable John Curry
Cause of Death: Gunshot
End of Watch: February 29, 1864 Victoria
Constable John Curry was a foot patrol officer on duty in the area of the downtown core around midnight, the night of February 29th, 1864. Constable Curry had been told that a potential robbery may take place in the near future somewhere along Store Street. He was on a foot patrol of the area that night.
Also in the area was an armed night watchman, Special Constable Thomas Barrett. Barrett discovered an insecure door at Mrs. Copperman’s store located in the alley behind Store Street. Upon investigation, Barrett found a burglar inside the store. He fought with the burglar but was overpowered and beaten by a second assailant. The two burglars then fled into the alley. 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 some two days later, stated that he was certain that this figure was his attacker or the accomplice. Barrett yelled out to “Stand-back, or I’ll shoot.” The figure continued to charge forward and a single shot was fired.
Barrett had shot Constable Curry. Constable Curry died about five minutes after receiving the wound. Before dying, Constable Curry stated that it was not he who had struck Barrett, the night watchman.
Constable Curry was buried in the Old Burying grounds, (now known as Pioneer Park) at the corner of Quadra and Meares Street, Victoria, British Columbia. He was a single man.
Constable John Curry was born in Durham, England and had joined the Department in February of 1863. The Inquisition recommended that the Police should utilize “special passwords” to identify themselves. The press later stated that Police should adopt “a regulation enforcing the wearing of a uniform by every officer.”