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 Floyd C. Eiler, Policeman

Floyd C. Eiler

Monday, December 25, 1911



Eiler, Floyd C.

Rank: Policeman

Serial Number:Unknown

Division: Unknown

Location: 1st and Gary

Date Killed: Monday, December 25, 1911

Cause of Death: Shot by a Robbery Suspect

Bio: As 1911, wound down, Angelenos readied for
the holiday season. Business was brisk at the downtown shops along
Broadway and Spring streets. The chief of the Los Angeles Police
Department, Charles E. Sebastian celebrated his appointment for an
additional year as chief. Despite this festive mood, 1911 had been
the bloodiest year on record for the police department, with the
deaths of three patrolmen in the line of duty: Arthur B. Crusey,
Cecil S. Bowman and James P. Wylie. William H. Taft had succeeded
Theodore Roosevelt as president and Floyd C. Eiler was completing
his second month as a patrolman for the LAPD.

Floyd Charles Eiler was born on December 20, 1885 in Miami County,
Kansas, to Daniel and Louisa M. Eiler. The elder Eiler owned a farm
in Liberty, Decatur County, Kansas. Floyd was one of at least six
children born to the couple. By 1910, the elder Eiler had passed
away. Floyd and his older brother Roy made their way to Los
Angeles, where they shared a room at 211 East 5th Street. The close
knit brothers both earned a living as drivers. By early October
1911, Floyd lived at 300 East 25th Street. He sent for his mother
Louisa M. and younger sister Ada C. Eiler and the two joined him in
Los Angeles. On October 25, 1911, Floyd C. Eiler joined the LAPD
and was assigned to work Central Division.

In these early days of the Department, officers were on probation
for six months. However, they generally manned a foot beat alone.
Patrolman Eiler's foot beat was on First Street, east of Alameda
around Hewitt and Garey Streets. It was here he worked on the
evening of December 21, 1911. The area was littered with saloons
and pubs, which then as now, could attract an unsavory
element.

Fred Winsch was said to have originally been from New Orleans.
However, he had made his way to San Francisco where he met up with
Luigi Colondoni. Together the pair traveled south to Los Angeles
where they roomed at the Garey Hotel which was located near the
corner of 2nd and Garey Streets. There, they drew out a scheme to
commit street robberies along with heists of small local
businesses.

On Thursday, December 21, 1911, the two set about on their evil
mission and went to a sporting goods store where they purchased a
.38 caliber Colt revolver. Later that night, Winsch and Colondoni
went to Billy's Chop House located at 1st and Garey Streets intent
on robbing the establishment. However, the bungling pair was
unorganized as Colondoni moved behind the counter prematurely
angering an unprepared Winsch, who in turn clubbed Colondoni over
the head for his hastiness.

Colondoni suddenly got cold feet and fled out the front door with
Winsch in tow. The now infuriated Winsch drew his revolver, aimed
and fired several shots at his fleeting partner, striking Colondoni
once in the right thigh. Colondoni collapsed groggy and grazed by
the reckless and merciless Winsch.

Patrolman Eiler heard the shots ring out on that cool windy
evening. He responded eastbound from Hewitt and 1st Street directly
into the path of Winsch who had approached from the opposite
direction. Winsch fired suddenly at Eiler striking him just below
the heart. Eiler fell back and though gravely wounded, drew his own
revolver and shot back. Eiler's round struck the fleeing Winsch in
the small of the back. The bullet traversed Winsch's back, passed
through several vital organs and lodged just underneath the skin on
his abdomen wall. Winsch collapsed as well and all three men lay on
the ground seriously wounded.

Patrolman Eiler was well known in his beat and several citizens
came to his aid. A friend of Eiler named James Martin came to his
side and took his revolver. He approached Winsch and promptly fired
another round into him as he was still armed with his Colt
revolver. Sergeant Harry L. Varey and Patrolman R. J. McCarren
responded to the shooting and took the two suspects into custody.
Backup, comprised of two vehicles and several police officers
responded from Central Station, located on the south side of First
Street just east of Broadway.

All three men were transported to Central Receiving Hospital on
First and Spring Streets for medical attention. Patrolman Eiler
identified Winsch as his assailant. Surgeons then made a desperate
attempt to save both Eiler and Winsch, who gave a dying confession
admitting to shooting Eiler. Winsch died early the next day, as
Eiler fought desperately to survive the serious gunshot wound to
his chest.

As Christmas Day arrived Chief Sebastian issued a proclamation to
the officers of his department, thanking them for their service.
Then as now, police officers worked that holiday as the community
enjoyed the three day weekend. Meanwhile, Floyd Eiler's family
consisting of his brother Roy, mother Louisa and sister Ada kept
vigil at his bedside at the Hospital of the Good Samaritan, located
at 924 West 7th Street. Doctors at the hospital later stated they
had never seen someone fight so desperately and bravely as Eiler
had. Despite his heroic effort,

Patrolman Eiler succumbed to his wound on the evening of Christmas
1911.

Luigi Colondoni, Winsch's accomplice, was a suspect in the shooting
of Patrolman Bernard C. Croft earlier in December 1911. Although
Croft survived his wounds, he was unable to identify Colondoni as
his suspect. Records for the time period do not specify what became
of Colondoni.

Three days later, services were held for Patrolman Floyd C. Eiler,
who became the eight Los Angeles police officer killed in the line
of duty. The mortuary home of Orr and Booth located at Hope and
12th Street conducted the services. Eiler was taken to
Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery, located at 1831 West Washington
Boulevard, Los Angeles where he is buried today. Eiler's family
remained in Los Angeles, where his mother lived to the age of 101
before dying in 1959.

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