Sunday August 26th, 2012 marks the 105th anniversary of the death of the first Bethlehem police officer to be killed in the line of duty. Officer George Shuman of the South Bethlehem Police Department was shot and killed on Monday August 26th, 1907. Officer Shuman became the first of six Bethlehem police officers to lose his life in the line of duty. Officer Shuman was shot twice by William Handy while attempting to arrest him near the Reading Railway lines at Second and Adams Streets. Officer Shuman, though mortally wounded, was able to travel two blocks to the South Bethlehem Police Station and relay what happened to the Chief of Police, Hugh Kelly.
Handy was apprehended several hours later by the late Sgt. Jack McHugh of the South Side force, and Chief Hugh Burns, of the Fountain Hill force, while he was hiding in the former Brown-Borhek Lumber yards at Third St & Brodhead Avenue.
Handy was found guilty of murder in Northampton County Court on Sept. 12; sentenced to death on Sept. 23 by the former President Judge Russell C. Stewart, and electrocuted on Feb. 20, 1908.
Officer Shuman served the citizens of South Bethlehem as a police officer for thirteen years. He was survived by his wife and adopted daughter.
Officer George Shuman, thank you for your service to your community, your dedication to your profession, and your ultimate sacrifice. You are not forgotten. Every year during National Police Week, you are remembered at our ceremony. Our flag will fly at half staff on August 26th and our officers will wear a black mourning band across their badge to signify your sacrifice and to remember your service.