Claremore Daily Progress

Community News

February 15, 2014

Remember Back When... Shots fired, officer down

CLAREMORE —

It was almost 60 years ago when hundreds of friends and sympathetic Claremore citizens crowded into Memorial Heights Baptist Church where funeral services were held for Joseph C. Hause. Hause, a 27-year-old police officer,  was killed in an ambush by a drunken ex-convict.
A Navy veteran, Hause had been a Claremore officer for 14 months.  He was one of four officers way laid shortly around midnight Saturday, July 10, 1954, by Henry Paul Miller, 47.
Policeman Louis E. Smith was also wounded.  The officers were investigating a stolen shotgun report at the Page Hotel.  The Page was a walk-up rooming house in the 100 block of North Catalayah, now known as Lynn Riggs Blvd, at the northeast corner at Fourth Street.
Police Chief Edd Hixon was beside Hause when he was shot.
Hixon was on duty that night filling in for Hause so the officer could attend the final performance of the Will Rogers Stampede Rodeo. 
Events leading up to the shooting started about two hours earlier.  Officer Hubert Ross received a call about a missing gun.  Bealah Tanner, a hotel resident, said a shotgun had been stolen from her room.  After getting information and the serial number, Ross left.
After helping direct departing traffic from the rodeo grounds, Hause returned to town to relieve Hixon and finish his shift.  In the meantime, a second call by Tanner came in.  She named Miller as the one stealing her shotgun and that he hid it by the hotel’s back porch.  She added he apparently had left to go buy beer.
Hixon decided he and his three officers, Hause, Smith and Ross, would all go to the hotel.  They parked in the alley and flashed their spotlights on the rickety wooden stairs leading to the second floor.  They saw no one.
The chief and Hause started up the stairs to locate Tanner.  Despite the narrow walkway, the two were walking side by side.  Suddenly Miller sprung out from the upper doorway about eight feet in front of them.  A shotgun blasted.

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