John F. “Benjamin” Evans, an officer with the Pittsburgh Police Department, was shot by Edward J. Coffey on August 4, 1885, while trying to arrest him outside a saloon at 6th and Penn Avenue. Evans died two days later.
Coffey, the son of a prominent family, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. After failing in his efforts to use his family’s resources to overturn his conviction or his sentence, Coffey committed suicide on January 24, 1888, the eve of his execution.
This was the first case in which the killing of a police officer in Allegheny County resulted in a first degree murder conviction.