98 years later, Tonawanda pays tribute to a police officer killed on duty | Local News
His most heartbreaking experience came on July 7, 1920, when he was shot in the chin by one of two men suspected of breaking into a clothing store. Pfonner was back on patrol within two weeks.
On the night of the fatal accident, Pfonner was riding his motorcycle, with a fellow officer in the sidecar, on Delaware Avenue at Princeton Boulevard. The reports are in conflict over what exactly they were doing.
At around 8:30 p.m., a southbound Packard passenger car, traveling at around 60 mph and manned by two men and two women, crashed into the officers. The car did not slow down and no one got their license plate.
Pfonner was thrown from the motorcycle onto the roadway and lost consciousness.
He suffered a broken leg, broken collarbone and other internal injuries and died at Buffalo Homeopathic Hospital, later at Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital, that night. His partner, Theodore Roodie, sometimes spelled Rhode, was seriously injured but survived.
Police searched the “death car,” as a newspaper said, from afar, and the city offered a $ 500 reward leading to an arrest, but no one was ever charged.
“The family believe that smugglers intentionally shot him dead,” Stauffiger said.
The town and village of Kenmore, in the days following the fatal crash, grappled with uncontrollable “speed demons,” according to news reports.