KCPD Memorial   Lest We Forget
Police Officer
Alexander Rodney McKinney
Kansas City, Missouri Police Department
End of Watch: Saturday, January 24, 1903
Age: 44
DOB: August 13, 1858
Date of incident: January 22, 1903
Tour of Duty: 5 years
Cause of death: Gunfire
Suspect information: Placed in an insane asylum
 
On Thursday morning - January 22, 1903, Officer McKinney was shot in the left temple by Sylvester Swank in the lobby of Police Headquarters. Sylvester Swank, a demented man, entered the officer of Frank Snow, property clerk at the police headquarters, and demanded $90 that was taken from him when he was sent to the asylum for the insane in St. Joseph, Missouri one year before. As he left the property room he saw Officer McKinney and hesitated. Officer McKinney extended both hands and said "Come on now." Swank quickly reached inside his coat and withdrew a revolver, firing on Officer McKinney who fell to the floor. Swank stood over his victim for a minute then clerk Snow, jailer Burt Siersdorfer, rushed to the Officer McKinney's aid Swank began to fire again but Lieutenant Kennedy was able to run behind Swank and grasp his arms as Swank continued to fire causing the remainder of his bullets to discharge wildly. Swank continued to fight policemen until they clubbed him into submission with revolvers. Officer McKinney died at 12:45 am on January 24, 1903.

Swank was examined, pronounced mentally ill and was taken the insane asylum in Nevada, Missouri by Marshal Thomas J. Pendergast. Swank previously escaped from a state insane asylum in St. Joseph, Missouri.

Officer McKinney was a cowboy, a cattleman and a U.S. Marshall prior to coming to Kansas City in 1886. Officer McKinney was appointed to the Kansas City Police Department in 1897. Officer McKinney's funeral was held at the family home at 3017 E. 22nd St. Services were were held under the auspices of Masonic Rural Lodge #216. He was survived by three children aged 6 to 15 years of age, Alexander, Francis, and Leonard; his mother and a brother, Wayne. Interred: Elmwood Cemetery.

Article by Brent Marchant