OFFICER AMOS J. COMER – EOW: 7-4-1924
By: Officer Mike Severance #2866
On July 4, 1924, during the evening hours, Mr. E. M. Martini, manager of the Business Men’s Club at 614 ½ S. Jackson St., called police headquarters and reported a male was inside the club creating a disturbance. The suspect had told J. H. Fears, the cook at the club, that he would shoot the first guy that bothered him. Martini provided a description of the suspect, but not the suspect’s name. The suspect was L. E. Mosley, an ex-convict who was released from Walla Walla Penitentiary one month earlier.
Officer Amos J. Comer, 46, responded to the club. He searched inside the club, but did not locate the suspect. Comer left the building. He was standing on the sidewalk when Mosley came out of the club. Comer knew Mosley, and he matched the description of the man causing the disturbance. Officer Comer confronted Mosley and started to search him. Mosley pulled a revolver from his pocket and shot the officer twice. One bullet hit the officer in the wrist. The other bullet struck just below the officer’s heart. Mosley jumped on the officer and started to beat him. The cook from the club, Mr. Fears, pulled Mosley off the officer. Mosley pointed his gun at Fears and pulled the trigger. The gun misfired, and Mosley ran away. Officer Comer was rushed to City Hospital. He and witnesses were able to identify Mosley as the shooter. Officer Comer underwent surgery at midnight. Doctors gave him a slight chance of recovering, but he died during the evening of July 5, 1924. He was survived by his widow, Elizabeth; three adult children, Louis, Alta, Etta; and an 8 year-old daughter, Ruth. Officer Comer’s funeral was held on July 9, 1924 at the Butterworth Chapel. Hundreds of Seattle citizens turned out to pay their respects to one of their police officers. Officer Comer was buried at Evergreen Cemetery.
Seattle detectives located and arrested Mosley on July 7, 1924. He was asleep at a rooming house in Tacoma. A revolver was under his pillow. Mosley had been released from the Walla Walla Penitentiary in June 1924 after serving a ten year sentence for murdering a Japanese sailor in Tacoma. He had also served time at Folsom State Prison in California. Mosley was tried and convicted for Officer Comer’s murder. L. E. Mosley was hanged at the Walla Walla Penitentiary on February 19, 1926.
Amos John Comer was born on February 22, 1878 in Homer, Missouri. Amos married Sarah Elizabeth Worden on March 2, 1897 in Worth, MO. Three of their children, Louis, Alta, and Etta Comer, were born in Missouri. The first record of the Comers living in Seattle is in 1907. Amos was a teamster before being commissioned as a Seattle police officer on January 1, 1912. At the time of his death, the family lived at 5722 Keystone Place. At that time, the Seattle Police Department had 530 officers. The Seattle Fire Department had 638 firefighters.
Elizabeth Comer never re-married. She died in Shelton, WA in 1963. All the Comer children have passed away. Etta Comer married and had two sons. There are no records of either son having children of their own. But, Homer Blalock, a retired U.S. Navy Captain, is a great grandson of Allen Comer, a brother of Officer Comer. He lives in Hawaii. His son, Jacob Blalock, lives in Oregon.
In May 1998, Officer Amos J. Comer was one of forty Seattle police officers, killed in the line of duty between 1881 and 1977, who were posthumously awarded the Washington Law enforcement Medal of Honor. A sworn member of SPD had been tasked with locating surviving families of our Fallen, and he had from 1995 to 1998 to do it. He managed to locate four surviving families who attended the 1998 presentation ceremony. After 1998, the Department made no effort to locate surviving families of the other thirty-six officers. Amos Comer’s medal gathered dust at the Seattle Police Department for more than 15 years. At a ceremony on January 30, 2014, twenty surviving families of our 1998 Medal of Honor recipients finally received the officers’ medals. Jacob Blalock, the great-great grandson of Allen Comer, was presented with Officer Amos Comer’s Medal of Honor.