BPD Remembers: The men and women of the Boston Police Department remember the service and sacrifice of Patrolman Walter A. Schroeder, who was killed in the line of duty 53 years ago today. On September 24, 1970, Patrolman Walter Schroeder was shot and killed while responding to a silent alarm at a bank at 9:20 a.m. at the intersection of Western Avenue and Everett Street in Allston-Brighton.
The bank was being robbed by five members of a gang of anti-Vietnam War activists. As Patrolman Schroeder exited his cruiser and walked towards the bank, a gang member who was across the street opened fire on him with a rifle, striking him in the back several times. Patrolman Schroeder was taken to a local hospital where he sadly succumbed to his injuries.
Patrolman Schroeder’s killer was the focus of the largest manhunt in New England’s history. After stealing two cars and eluding police during two high-speed chases involving gunfire, he was captured. He was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. He died in prison on September 10, 2011. Three of the other gang members were all sentenced to prison but most are now freed.
The fifth gang member, a woman, evaded capture, changed her name and lived in Oregon for 23 years. Suffering from depression, she surrendered to police in 1993. She was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 8 to 12 years in prison. She was released in 1999.
Patrolman Schroeder served the Boston Police Department for 19 years. He was survived by his wife, parents and children.
Headquarters for the Boston Police Department, located at One Schroeder Plaza, is named in honor of both brothers who were killed in the line of duty.
Patrolman Schroeder is buried at the Evergreen Cemetery, Brighton, MA. His name is located on the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington D.C. on Panel 16 West Line 1. His name is also forever engraved on the Hero Wall at Boston Police Headquarters and the Massachusetts Law Enforcement Memorial at the State House in Boston.
In Boston, a Hero Sign has been placed in his honor in the area Western Avenue and Everett Street in Allston on District D-14. The sign is to forever honor the memory of a man who gave his life in service to his city. If you ever find yourself in the area and you happen to see his Hero Sign, kindly take a moment to honor and acknowledge the service and sacrifice of a brave man who died protecting and serving his city.