The murder of Special Officer Bob Fennell, whose throat was slashed, will be remembered during the Wichita Falls Police Department’s annual memorial service during May of 2016, according to the Wichita Falls Police Department. The chain of events which led to Officer Fennell’s brutal murder on Sunday, March 20, 1938, began when he ejected a man from a Wichita Falls nightclub. Previously, the officer had taken three knives and two razors from several women who were inside the club.
The specific event which triggered the officer’s death was his ejection of one of the women and her companion from the club. Not long after that, the man returned to the club and approached the unsuspecting officer from behind. He then slashed his throat with a razor. The courageous Fennell never gave up, though, as he grabbed his pistol while he fell to the floor. He was incapacitated by his injuries, though, and unable to fire at his killer.
The owner of the nightclub then picked up Officer Fennell’s gun and shot the murderer three times. The officer’s killer then died inside the club as he fell to the floor not far from the officer he’d slain. Officer Fennell had been appointed a special officer the police chief of the Wichita Falls Police Department several weeks earlier. He had a wide range of experience in law enforcement as he served with the Burkburnett Police Department and the Electra Police Department, which are both located in the same north Texas county as Wichita Falls, a stone’s throw from the Red River.
Officer Fennell was survived by his wife, two daughters, mother, two brothers, and three sisters. Fennell was only 36 at the time of his tragic death, but he certainly remains a symbol of law enforcement courage in the face of danger. Other officers who will be remembered at the memorial service at the WFPD on Holliday Street in Wichita Falls, include Lieutenant Tommy Collins, Officer Edwin Rappolee, Officer Robert Edward Fellows, Officer Russell Scott, Officer Charles Sleigh Carlisle and Officer Hugh Sevier Fuller.
Chief Manuel Borrego will oversee this year’s memorial service as he has done for several years.
The most recent WFPD officer to die was Calvin Ealey who died from injuries sustained in an early morning accident at around 3:20 a.m., Sunday, September 27, 2015 while he was riding his personal motorcycle, according to an article in the Wichita Falls Times Record News newspaper. His motorcycle struck a curb before striking a light pole at the intersection of Kemp and Call Field Road. He was taken to United Regional where he later died as a result of his injuries. Ealey was a nine-year veteran at the time, and the father of two children. The WFPD issued the following statement, “We love you and will always remember you, Calvin. Rest in Peace Brother. Your fight is done. We will take it from here.”