Detective Richard Levis

Detective Richard LevisVancouver Police Detective Richard Levis and his partner, Detective Malcolm McLeod, were investigating a stabbing on the evening of August 27, 1914. A dispute had taken place in a local café, and the suspect, T.T. McKillarney, had stabbed a man named Thomas Hoggan.

Just before 11:00 p.m., the two detectives went to McKillarney’s shack at 732 Alexander Street. Detective McLeod covered the lane to prevent an escape, while Detective Levis knocked on the front door. The woman who answered the door stated that McKillarney was not there.

Levis suspected she was lying and decided to search the shack. He cautiously approached the bedroom, armed with his revolver in his right hand and a flashlight in his left. As he opened the bedroom door, McKillarney was waiting in ambush with a sawed-off shotgun. Detective Levis was shot point-blank in the chest.

Hearing the shot, Detective McLeod ran into the shack. Levis fell into his arms and exclaimed, “He shot me. He never gave me a chance.” He died in hospital two days later at the age of 28.

McKillarney escaped and fled to his native United States. A few months later, he was arrested while hiding out in Chicago, and he was returned to Vancouver to stand trial. He was convicted based on the testimony of a material witness named Byron Martin – a morphine and cocaine addict who has sawed off the shotgun for him. McKillarney was sentenced to death and hanged.

Detective Levis was a Vancouver Police officer for four years and, ironically, had arrested the killers of Constable James Archibald just one year before.

Detective Levis was awarded the Vancouver Police Medal of Valour posthumously by the Police Commission, which was accepted by his widow. She later joined the Vancouver Police Department as a matron and served for many years.

Richard Levis: police officer, husband, father, son.

More Information

British Columbia Law Enforcement Memorial