Retired Seattle Police Officers Association

By: Officer Mike Severance – North Precinct

On May 10, 1928, shortly after 10:00 p.m., the Bartell Drug Store at 2nd Ave. and Pike St. was robbed by a lone armed male. Mr. Jack Howell was a customer in the store at the time. The robber took about $50 from the cash register and left. Howell decided to follow him. The suspect went north on 2nd Ave., and then east on Pine St. In the 200 block of Pine St., Howell flagged down a Mr. Conley in an automobile. Conley agreed to assist. As they continued to follow the suspect, they were looking for a police officer. At 4th Ave. and Pine St., the suspect got onto a northbound Wallingford street car. Howell and Conley followed the street car to Times Square, and still had not seen a police officer. They stopped, and Howell ran inside a drug store to call the police. Before he could do that, Conley ran into the store to say he had found an officer. It was Officer Fred Ivey, 49. All three got into Conley’s car and pursued the street car as it travelled north on Westlake. The car pulled alongside the street car, and Officer Ivey tried to get the conductor to pull over. The conductor would not pull over, but the suspect saw Officer Ivey. The street car stopped at Westlake Ave. and Roy. St. The suspect went to the rear platform. Officer Ivey approached the street car, and the suspect fired two shots. Officer Ivey, returned fire, moved a sort distance, and fell to the ground dead. The suspect ran north and disappeared. Around that time, a row boat was stolen from a houseboat at the south end of Lake Union. It was recovered a short distance away.
Officer Ivy was survived by his wife, Katherine, two sons, Quenton and Eugene, and a daughter, Dolores.
Several arrests were made within a short amount of time, but all those arrested were released as none of the witnesses identified them as the killer of Officer Ivey. Fred Ivey’s funeral was held on May 14, 1928 at the Bleitz Chapel. Officer Ivey was buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery.
The investigation of Officer Ivey’s murder went cold until January 9, 1929. Robert E. Byrne, an ex-convict, and James M. Fare, a city fireman, attempted to rob the office of the Barto Loan Company in the Collins Building at 2nd Ave. and James St. Police officers arrived while the robbery was in progress. Byrne and Fare were both shot and killed. Jack Howell, a witness to Officer Ivey’s murder, saw Byrne’s photo in the newspaper. He was certain Byrne was the man who shot Officer Ivey. Howell viewed Byrne’s body in the morgue. He was positive that Byrne was the murderer. Detectives believed it was very likely Byrne was the man who shot Officer Ivey. There are no records that the case was officially closed, but nobody was ever charged with Officer Ivey’s murder.
Fred Ivey was born in Laclede, MO on March 13, 1879. In 1899, at age 20, Fred moved west and settled in Granite Falls where he lived for fourteen years. He was town marshal for a time. He married Katherine Brown on May 15, 1909. He was commissioned as a Seattle police officer on July 23, 1917. At the time of his death, the family lived at 353 W. 74th St. Katherine never remarried. She died in Seattle in 1968 having four grandchildren. Quentin Ivey married. He died in California in 1985. Dolores Ivey married and remained in Seattle. She died in 1996. Eugene Ivey followed in his father’s footsteps. He had a career as a Seattle police officer and detective. He died in 1988.
In May 1998, Officer Fred Ivey was one of forty Seattle police officers who were posthumously awarded the Washington Law Enforcement Medal of Honor. Officer Ivey’s medal has been in the custody of the Seattle Police Department since 1998.