Officer Joseph Boyle

Photo of Officer Joseph Boyle
End of Watch: Fri, Oct 7th, 1887
Date of Incident: Fri, Oct 7th, 1887
Cause of Death: Gunfire (Intentional)
Service Time: 1 year
Age: 32


Several siblings.


Officer Joseph Boyle, age 32, while on duty serving with the Louisville Police Department was shot and instantly killed by Lee Hedrick. Officer Boyle was attempting to arrest Hedrick on Market Street in front of Weber's Saloon. Boyle was shot three times by Hedrick. One bullet struck Boyle in the head.

Hedrick was arrested upon the arrival of officers at the scene. He was charged with murder. He claimed legal self-defense. He said that after Boyle told him that he was under arrest he would not comply with Officer Boyle's orders to cooperate. It was then he alleges that Boyle hit him in the head with a billy club. Hedrick claimed that the officer then drew his pistol. This caused him to fear for his life so he draw his pistol and shot the officer five times.

On October 19, 1887, Judge Thompson dismissed the murder charge against Lee Hedrick on the legal grounds of self-defense. The judge stated that the evidence showed that under the particular circumstance Hedrick had a right to defend himself as he had done against a perceived deadly threat by the officer.

Officer Boyle had served for about a year on the police department before his death. He was single and survived by several siblings.

In January, 1893, his killer, Lee Hedrick, committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. The suicide was witnessed by his wife.

[Source: Courier-Journal newspaper accounts of the incident and court proceeding.]


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There are 2 tributes for Officer Joseph Boyle.

Officer Joseph Boyle
Left by Lt. Gary Powell (Ret.) on Monday, July 21st, 2014

Rest in Peace.