National News

Street to be named after police officer killed years ago

Posted June 20, 2018 12:54 p.m. EDT

— A street in Over-the-Rhine will be dedicated to a Cincinnati police officer killed in the line of duty more than 40 years ago.

Officer William J. Loftin, known as Bill, died after Cleophus Collins shot him in the abdomen at point-blank range on Aug. 26, 1975.

He was 36 years old.

The Cincinnati Police Department and Councilman Wendell Young, himself a former officer, organized the honorary street naming. The official ceremony is at 5 p.m. Wednesday on the corner of East 14th and Clay streets.

Loftin was shot up the hill, in Avondale. According to the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum, Collins had stopped into the Clock Bar on Burnet Avenue and mentioned he was going to shoot a cop.

Just minutes later, outside the Burnet Fruit Market, a citizen told Loftin ad his partner, Officer Claude Dell, that a man in a nearby car had a gun.

It was Collins.

He shot into the air, then shot Loftin when the officers told him to drop the gun. He died later that night.

According to the police museum, Loftin had wanted to be a policeman since he was 7 years old -- a dream his mother opposed.

His biography recounts his dedication:

"She was concerned about the dangers of the job, but he said, 'Mom, this is just what I want to be. It's right for me ... If I should die in the line of duty, I'll die happy.'"

The day before he was shot, fellow officers had joked with Loftin about his arrest of three naked swimmers.

A supervisor described Loftin as "one of the most capable, dependable, loyal, and fearless officers I have had the pleasure to work with."

According to the police museum, Loftin had received 12 letters of appreciation and/or commendation in his 8-plus years of service, including four from the police chief. Another, for a failed attempt to revive a child who had drowned in a pool, was on the chief's desk when Loftin died.

Loftin and his partner shot Collins after he fired at them. Collins eventually was convicted of murder and died in prison in 2007.

The street naming comes a day after the three-year anniversary of Officer Sonny Kim's death. TrePierre Hummons shot and killed Kim during an ambush in the city's Madisonville neighborhood on the morning of June 19, 2015. Police then shot Hummons, who also died.