More than forty years after Seattle police officer Robert Allshaw was killed in the line of duty during a robbery at a grocery store in North Seattle, Seattle Police Department Assistant Chief Mike Sanford and Lt. Donnie Lowe traveled to Indio, CA this week to present Officer Allshaw’s wife, Suzanne, with a Medal of Honor, recognizing her husband’s service to Seattle.
Officer Robert Allshaw was accidentally shot and killed by another police officer on November 11, 1968 during a robbery call at a grocery store in the Pinerhurst neighborhood of North Seattle.
Allshaw was the first officer to arrive at the grocery store, where he exchanged gunfire with a group of suspects. During the shootout Allshaw was able to capture one of the robbers.
Other police officers soon arrived at the chaotic scene, unaware that Allshaw was already at the store with one of the suspects in custody. Another officer spotted Allshaw, mistook him for one of the suspects, and opened fire, fatally wounding him.
In 1998, the department awarded Officer Allshaw with the Medal of Honor, but never presented the medal to his family. This year, SPD Assistant Chief Mike Sanford and the department’s honor guard began working to return Allshaw’s medal, along with several others never provided to the families of fallen officers.
“This was truly a great honor for Lieutenant Lowe and I,” says SPD Assistant Chief Sanford. “My father worked around Bob Alllshaw and told me that Bob was a genuinely nice man who always wanted to help people. Meeting this wonderful sweet woman who shared some laughs and a few tears with us forty years later was emotional for me. We were forty years late, but we delivered.”