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On This Date (February 07) 1951-Patrolman Willis Wood (Johnny) Sides

Posted by DallasCop2566 
On This Date (February 07) 1951-Patrolman Willis Wood (Johnny) Sides
February 06, 2022 04:39PM
On this date (February 07) 1951, a father and mother lost a son, his one brother and two sisters lost a brother and Dallas lost a Police Officer.

Patrolman Willis Wood (Johnny) Sides, Badge Number 337, age 22, died as a result of a gunshot wound received on January 22, 1951.

Assigned with Patrolman Harold Dawson and recently graduated from the Dallas Police Academy Patrolman Willis Wood (Johnny) Sides while on routine patrol in the South Dallas area observed a blue 1950 Oldsmobile sedan run the red light at Forest Avenue (now Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard) and Second Avenue.

Patrolman Dawson driving the police vehicle followed the vehicle turning on the red lights. The vehicle continued without stopping at which time the siren was initiated. The vehicle stopped at the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue.

The Officers observed four occupants in the vehicle, two in the front seat and two in the rear seat. Patrolman Dawson approached the driver’s side of the vehicle and ordered all the occupants to exit the vehicle. At this time Patrolman Sides opened the right front door of the vehicle and was immediately shot in the abdomen by the right front passenger. At this time, the left rear passenger opened fire on Patrolman Dawson who was struck in the left arm.

The vehicle pulled away at which time Patrolman Dawson fired six rounds. He later declared he hit the vehicle without doubt and may have struck one or more of the occupants.

Both Patrolman Dawson and Sides were transported to Parkland Hospital and admitted for treatment of the injuries sustained in this attack. Patrolman Sides died as a result of these injuries on February 07, 1951.

A massive manhunt for these suspects was initiated with off duty officers reporting and joining the search as well as many other law enforcement agencies located in the Dallas area.

The suspects fled into Oklahoma to Madill, Oklahoma. There they burglarized a hardware store stealing two shotguns and a large of amount of ammunition. From here they traveled east entering the State of Arkansas.

Without funds, two of the suspects went to the town of Hardy, Arkansas. There they attempted to sell one of the stolen shotguns for money to buy food for themselves and the other two suspects who were hiding just outside town.

A barber in Hardy who also served as the City Marshall became suspicious of the two suspects and notified the Sheriff. The Sheriff responded and he and the City Marshall approached the suspects. One of the suspects began fighting the Sheriff and they fell to the ground at which time the Sheriff lost his pistol. The Sheriff was a large man and was able to get on top of the suspect and picking up a rock he struck the suspect in the head ending the fight. The other suspect ran to the vehicle at which time the City Marshall fired a round through the windshield, the suspect then surrendered.

The suspects were jailed and their vehicle taken to a nearby garage to be held as evidence. Shortly afterwards the two other suspects walked into town and were taken into custody.

The Sheriff notified the Arkansas State Police after observing two brand new shotguns and the large amount of ammunition in the suspect’s vehicle. He was notified of a teletype from Dallas regarding the shooting of the officers and the description of the vehicle. The Sheriff notified them he had the vehicle and suspects in custody and this information was forwarded to Dallas Police.

One of the suspects, identified as Bill Pomeroy, age 22, gave a statement identifying the other three suspects as Robert Johnson, age 33, his two nephews, J.W. Johnson, age 23 and Marvin Johnson, age 22. He added they were all residents of Lamont, California and had been in the Southern United States area since mid December 1950.

He also informed them Robert Johnson shot Patrolman Dawson and Marvin Johnson shot Patrolman Sides. His statement continued informing they stole the suspect vehicle in Ardmore, Oklahoma several days before coming to Dallas and they were in Dallas only one day when the shootings occurred. They then fled to Madill, Oklahoma and then to Arkansas.

When transported back to Dallas, Suspect Pomeroy then informed the investigators that two of the Johnson's had shot and wounded a Mississippi State Trooper in Decemeber 1950, but he was not sure which did the actually shooting as he was asleep at the time.

When returned to Dallas, all four suspects were taken to Parkland Hospital and Patrolman Sides positively identified them as the suspects involved as the looked both in the back seat and front seat of the suspect vehicle before he was shot.

All four suspects were charged with Capital Murder. All were found guilty and Suspect Robert Johnson and Suspect Marvin Johnson were sentenced to death and the other two suspects received Life in Prison sentences. Robert Johnson was executed on March 12, 1952 and Marvin Johnson was executed on April 09, 1952.

The Dallas Chamber of Commerce awards the Dallas Police Rookie of the Year Award annually and is named in honor of Patrolman Sides, a three month veteran of the Dallas Police Department.

Patrolman Willis Wood (Johnny) Sides is interred at Restland Memorial Park Cemetery in the Floral Hill Section.
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