John Gaines

Jun 2, 2021 - 2:59 pm

We know very little about Police Officer John Gaines, who was shot and killed on Wednesday, Nov 19th, 1913.

He had been waiting for backup during the arrest of a drunk deputy constable, George Booth, at Sixth and Trinity streets.

At the time, white suspects could only be arrested by white officers and since Booth was a white deputy, Gaines had to call for assistance.

The situation was prompted when Gaines responded to Booth causing a disturbance in the area, and Booth shot Gaines while Gaines was telephoning the police station for help.

After he was shot, Gaines was able to give his account of the event to the Police Chief before dying at the City Hospital several hours later.

It seems that after he was shot, Gaines managed to raise himself up to a seated position and shot back.

Booth was charged and convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to two years in prison.

Officer Gaines was the first African-American policeman in Austin and was survived by his wife.

He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery and a memorial to him is located on the corner of Sixth and Trinity.

In 2016, the city opened a park named for Officer John Gaines in the Mueller District area of Northeast Austin.


Headstone of JHS Gaines