and Bloodhounds Used In Search; Patrolman Monroe Brannen's Condition
Reported Only Fair. ( Lakeland Ledger, Monday, Oct.17, 1949 )
Planes, bloodhounds and horseback riders were pressed into service today as grim-faced Lakeland policemen and citizens continue their search for Jesse Donaldson, 38,Negro wanted in connection with the shooting of Patrolman Monroe Brannen late yesterday afternoon.
Brannen was shot when he and Patrolman Robert Powell were answering a routine call at 5:39 at 919 North Dakota Avenue. Douglas Shoemaker, Negro, had reported that Donaldson was "after him" with a shotgun at that address.
Brannen approached the house from the front and Powell from the rear. A shotgun blast was fired in Brannen's face through the front screen door and he fell to the ground. Two shots were then fired from the rear of the house at Powell, who returned the fire with his pistol. Donaldson escaped, without being seen by either Brannen or Powell, Chief of Detectives Lee Ellis said.
At 5:45 p.m. Powell called for an ambulance for Brannen and for additional policemen. Brannen was taken to Morrell Hospital, lost one eye as a result of the shotgun blast. He was reported in "only fair" condition this morning.
Jack Riley, Negro bus station employee, was held up by a Negro with a shotgun at 6:05 in the 1000 block of North Virginia Avenue, just a few blocks from where the shooting took place. Donaldson took Riley's 1939 green Chevrolet and dissappeared in a northerly direction.
The car was found abandoned about 9:00 on the grounds of the Carpenters Home, north of the city. Bloodhounds were immediately rushed out and followed the Negro's trail for about a mile before they lost it.
The whole area surrounding the Home was searched all night by policemen, auxiliary police and hundreds of citizen volunteers who joined in the manhunt. The sheriff's office and Florida Highway Patrol put all their men and cars in this area at the disposal of the Lakeland Police Department.
Twenty minutes after Brannen was shot, the Highway Patrol had dispatched a statewide alarm and set up a blockade of roads leading out of Lakeland which they were maintaining this morning.
Atlantic Coast Line police set up blockades at their yards and watched their trains at Orlando, Tampa, Ocala and other Florida and Southern points for the Negro.
Policemen who have been on the job all night, continued the search today in the area north of the city surrounding the Carpenters Home. Leads were being quickly traced down as soon as they came in at headquarters.
Constable Pat Gordon, sheriff's deputies and Highway Patrolmen are aiding with the search, along with 15 citizen volunteers on horseback. Four light airplanes are being used in an aerial search for Donaldson and bloodhounds are being employed in an effort to locate the trail on the ground.
Donaldson is described as 5 feet, 10 inches tall, 185 pounds, of medium build with black hair, dark brown eyes and a dark brown complexion. He has a cut scar on the right side of his forehead and two front teeth missing.
Police Chief Roy Huchingson said that Donaldson had been released from prison last November after serving a 10 year term for assault. Huchingson stated that the Negor had served his prison term under the name of Jesse Shoemaker.
H.McGraw was involved in an accident of North Massachusetts avenue near the John Cox school at 7:50 last night while assisting Constable Gordon with the search, police said. As McGraw turned a corner at a high rate of speed, a door to the rear flew open and his companion Miss Caroline Bowman, fell out, McGraw grabber for Miss Bowman and as he did so, fell out the other door. Both were treated for cuts and bruises.
Police Chief William H. DeVault in mid-morning investigated a report that a Negro fitting the description of Jesse Donaldson, wanted in the shooting yesterday of Patrolman Monroe Brannen at Lakeland, was sitting in an automobile parked on state road 17 in east Bartow. However, the car had been driven away before DeVault arrived at the scene.
Sheriff Frank M. Williams and a number of his deputies participated in the all night search for Donaldson and some of the deputies were still scouring the area notrheast of Lakeland today.
Capt. Olin Hill, division commander of the State Highway Patrol and several of his patrolmen were also out all night maintaining road blocks in an attempt to locate Donaldson.
Tuesday, October 18, 1949
An announcement of a $1,000 Reward for information leading to the arrest of Jesse Donaldson started out the day. Lakeland citizens and law enforcement continued their search for Donaldson who shot Patrolman Monroe Brannen late Sunday morning. Jesse Donaldson the negro who was released from Raiford in November of 1948 after serving a 10 year term for assault with intent to kill is the suspect sought. The $1,000 reward was offered by the Lakeland Police Department and the Polk County Sheriff Frank Williams
Rumors have been checked out most of which have centered area of Dade City. One woman reported seeing a Negro fitting Donaldson's description with trousers wet up to the knees about 8:00 yesterday morning 3 miles south of Dade City.
Assistant Police Chief, Lee Brooker said Donaldson is known my most Lakeland policemen. He has been arrested in Lakeland in 1939 and served 30 days in the city jail. Brooker complimented Capt. Olin Hill of the Florida Highway Patrol for the blockade his Patrolmen had established on roads leading out of the city.
Thursday, Octobet 20, 1949
Polk's Biggest Manhunt Ends;
Jesse Donaldson critically wounded when cornered near Auburndale after 72 hour search involving up to 600 persons. Tension which gripped Polk County for three days and nights was relaxed today, following the capture at dusk yesterday just outside Auburndale city limits of Jesse Donaldson, 38 year old negro who allegedly shot Lakeland Patrolman Monroe Brannen last Sunday.
Donaldson was shot by Deputy Sheriff Carl Purvis and Harvard Frazier of Plant City policemen with .38 cal. revolvers about 6:30 p.m. in a scrub oak thicket about 1 1/2 miles east of Lake Ariana, Lakeland Police Chief Roy Huchingson said. Donaldson was hit in the left knee and right shoulder and rushed to the county hospital in Bartow, where he was reported in critical contition today, physicians said he was suffering from shock caused by loss of blood and the shot which entered the shoulder pierced the lung cavity.
Lakeland Detective W. M. Bryan was nearby when Purvis and Frazier captured Donaldson but did not fire any shots. Donaldson was tracked to his final hiding place by Frazier's dog "Flip" which had followed the fugitive's trail.
Earlier reports had stated the Patrolman Robert Powell had gone to the rear of the house while Patrolman Brannen had gone to the front, but Powell stated he did not go to the rear, but had stepped out of the patrol car he was driving and accompanied Brannen toward the house. They were making their approach in the manner customary under such circumstances. Powell narrowly escaped being hit by the shotgun charge which hit Brannen, as Brannen fell, Powell began firing into the front of the house. As Powell put in a call on his car radio for an ambulance and police help, he was fired at again by the fleeing negro.
On October 18, 1949 an Appreciation Fund Began for the Wounded Officer. By October 21st. the fund had toped
$1,300.00 - a list of those who donated is available upon request- most in the city donated at least $1.00 and above.
|Obit- Feb. 23, 2006, Lakeland Ledger
Monroe Jefferson Brannen, 91, Polk County Sheriff
Born, November 27, 1914 in Lake Butler, Florida
Died, February 23, 2006 at Lakeland Reginal Medical Center, Lakeland, Polk Co.unty, Florida.
Mr. Monroe Jefferson Brannen was a former Polk County Sheriff, he was an Army Vetran and a member of the American Legion Post # 4, a member of the Vetrans of Foreign Wars Post # 2297, a member of the Florida Peace Officers Association, Florida Sheriff's Association and a past member of the boards for the Florida Sheriff's Boy's and Gir;s Villas. A former member of Central Avenue Baptist Church and attended First Baptist Church of the Mall.
Mr. Brannen was preceded in death by his wife, Leitha Brannen,
Survived by' 4 daughters
Lanier Funeral Home, Lakeland,Fl.