Hollywood Remains to Be Seen
A Guide to the Movie Stars' Final Homes

LAPD Street Signs

Officer James Henry Carter
(March 31, 1891 – March 18, 1928)

LAPD Officer James Henry Carter was walking his beat a few blocks north of downtown Los Angeles in the predawn hours of Sunday, March 18, 1928. There had been some recent robberies reported in the neighborhood, and Carter was looking for suspicious characters.

At about 3:30 a.m., on Alpine Street just west of North Grand Avenue, Carter stopped two young, well-dressed men walking on the street. "Good morning, boys," Carter reportedly said to the pair. "I just want to see if you boys are OK."

As Carter was frisking one of the men to check for weapons, the other man stepped back, pulled out a handgun and fired one shot at point-blank range, hitting Carter in the left side of his chest.

The two men ran east on Alpine with Carter, despite his gunshot wound, in pursuit. Carter ran two blocks and fired five shots at his assailants, but all of his shots missed. The officer collapsed on the sidewalk near the corner of Alpine and Hill Place.

A few minutes later, two newspaper delivery boys who lived in the neighborhood and were on their way to pick up the morning newspapers found the fallen officer. Carter gave them his key to the police call box at Alpine and Yale streets, and told them to call for help.

One of the boys, 12-year-old Vito Rossi, ran to the call box and unlocked it. The second boy, Leno Rivera, 14, made the call to police headquarters: "There's a cop shot at Alpine and Grand!" (The boys later recreated the scene for a Los Angeles Times photographer.)

A police ambulance arrived and took Carter to the Georgia Street Receiving Hospital, where the officer died during surgery a few hours later, two weeks before his 37th birthday. Before he died, Carter was able to give a general description of the two men, and suspects matching the description were brought in for questioning, but all were released.

Shortly after the shooting and about a mile away, a man reported a robbery at 584 Aliso St. Two men who matched the description of Carter's assailants stole a small amount of money from him, and his Ford touring car. The robbery victim was able to provide a better description of the two men, but police were unable to find them.

Officer Carter was born March 21, 1892, in Belton, Texas, about 45 miles south of Waco, the youngest of five children of William Collin Carter, a farmer, and Susan Brashear Carter. Both of his parents died in 1923, and Carter moved to Los Angeles, where he joined the LAPD on June 23, 1924. At the time of his death, Carter, who wasn’t married, lived at 222 N. Freemont Ave.

Following funeral services in Los Angeles, Officer Carter was buried at the Home of Peace Cemetery in Porterville, Calif.

Officer Carter's slaying was the second unsolved homicide of an LAPD officer, following the shooting death of Officer David Brooks in 1910, and followed by the unsolved slayings of Officer Peter Muller Jr. in 1930, Officer Fred Early in 1973, and Officer Michael Edwards in 1974.

Officer Carter's sign is located on the south side of Alpine Street, east of Bunker Hill Avenue.

Back to main LAPD page