West Covina Chief of Police John T. Brown, 30, of 820 Channing Street, was shot in the side this evening, while seeking to question two men driving a sedan containing what Chief Brown believed to be the bound body of a woman in the back seat. Brown, who became Chief 18 months ago after serving in the infantry, claims that several nights earlier he had found a woman’s nightgown and some gunny sacks hanging in an orange grove in the Vanderhoff tract, 1/4 mile south of Garvey Blvd. For several nights, he had staked the location out, awaiting suspicious activity.
Shortly after midnight tonight, Chief Brown arrived at the location and saw a 1937 or 1938 sedan parked in the area. Drawing his revolver, he crept up and peeked into the back window, seeing the woman, which he could not identify as being alive or dead. One story holds that the driver then pulled out a revolver and fired, striking Chief Brown with what proved to be a flesh wound. Another version of the incident has the driver disarming Chief Brown and shooting him with his own gun.
Authorities noted that murder victims Betty (Black Dahlia) Short, Mrs. Jeanne French and Evelyn Winters were all transported from their death scenes to dump sites by automobile, and speculated that the West Covina pair might be involved in those cases.