Street name honors fallen Mt. Pleasant police officer
A bright blue street sign atop a white pole contrasted against Thursday morning's overcast sky to honor Mt. Pleasant's only fallen police officer on the anniversary of his death 110 years ago.
“I don't think that time can erase the significance of someone's deeds,” said Rick Meason, the Mt. Pleasant historian who was instrumental in bringing police Chief Denver Braden Pore's 1906 slaying to the attention of borough officials. “When he confronted those men that night, we'll never know what tragedies he may have prevented by giving his own life.”
About a dozen people gathered for a short ceremony in a small borough alley — now named Chief D.B. Pore Way — just before rain started falling. Municipal officials, emergency responders and others listened to a historical account about how Pore was shot while on duty just feet away from where they stood on April 5, 1906. The chief died two days later.
Police Chief Douglas Sam pulled away a worn blue handkerchief that enveloped the brand new street sign to applause from those in attendance. Pore's death was lost to time until about two years ago when Meason discovered newspaper accounts of the fatal shooting and the ensuing search for the 25-year-old cop's killers.
“This has been long overdue,” said Mayor Jerry Lucia. “We felt it appropriate to rename this roadway in his honor.”
According to historical accounts, Pore got into an altercation with two men at about 10:30 p.m. near Main and Eagle streets. Andrew Lindsay Jr., 22, had a revolver and was out for a night of drinking with 18-year-old friend Thomas Wilson.
“The first shot missed, but the second shot struck Chief Pore in the abdomen,” Meason said.
Pore, who had just completed his first month of work as a police officer, was helped by residents who heard the shots. Lindsay and Wilson fled to the West Coast, according to newspaper accounts. Wilson later surrendered and was cleared of involvement. It's unclear if Lindsay ever was captured.
“Denver Braden Pore was a common man, but on this night, he displayed an uncommon courage,” Meason said.
Pore was a popular man in the area who had two young daughters with his wife, Harriet, Meason said. He had worked for West Penn Railway, but took the police job to keep him closer to his family.
“The tragic nature of Pore's death is compounded when you look at Pore's personal life,” he said. “He was described as being an honest, handsome young fellow with a sunny disposition.”
Because of work by an Oakmont father and son, Erich “Rocky” and Erich “Ricky” Geppert, Pore's name was included within the last few years on a national memorial for fallen officers in Washington, D.C. An interview room at the borough police station will also be named in Pore's honor and acknowledged with a plaque.
Meason smiled when the street sign was unveiled as he stood near it on the blustery morning, happy that officials had helped him achieve his goal of memorializing the fallen officer.
“They kept their promise and I thank them for that,” he said.
Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-837-5374 or firstname.lastname@example.org.