Russell T. Kleber, Chief of Police
280 Exchange St.
Athol, MA 01331
For Immediate Release
Thursday, April 12, 2018
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Athol Police to Pay Tribute to Fallen Captain on Anniversary of His Death
ATHOL — Chief Russell T. Kleber reports that the Athol Police Department will mark the 81st anniversary of the line of duty death of the late Capt. Earl H. Grimes.
Capt. Grimes died in the early morning hours of April 13, 1937 after being shot by a suspect during an incident earlier that week. Tomorrow, the Athol Police Department will honor his memory with a remembrance and a moment of silence at each roll call, and will broadcast a message over police radios.
On April 11, Captain Grimes and Officer Joseph T. McInerney were sent to investigate a suspicious man begging for money and food from children. Witnesses told police that the man was inside a small building down the embankment alongside the railroad tracks off Old Main Street and Chestnut Hill Avenue. The pair located the man inside and, as they were escorting him out, he pulled a shotgun that he had hidden nearby and shot Capt. Grimes in the stomach.
The suspect, an ex-convict named John Fletcher, was subsequently shot and killed by Officer McInerney.
Capt. Grimes, a 46-year-old husband and father to three sons, succumbed to his injuries at approximately 4:30 a.m. on April 13. He joined the Athol Police Department as an officer in 1921 and earned a promotion to captain in 1934.
Retired Sgt. Kent Hagar researched Capt. Grimes’ career and death on behalf of the department.
“No matter how much time passes, Capt. Grimes’ sacrifice in service to the town of Athol will never be diminished,” Chief Kleber said. “We are honored to pause and reflect on his bravery on the anniversary of his death.”