Life and death of Ollie Park
People were clearing the dance floor to go home, like any other night at the Breckenridge public dance hall. Except, on this night, Deputy Constable Ollie Park, 35, will never see home again. It was around 12:15 a.m. on March 17, 1932 when he died en route to a hospital from gunshot wounds received while attempting to make an arrest.
According to Breckenridge American archives, eye-witnesses said the shooting started just as the dance ended. “Officers were informed Roberts came with two male friends.” One of them was William Hilton Bybee, 26, of Pampa.
During the dance Roberts dropped a pistol. Deputy Parks had been called to the dance on official duty.
Deputy Park, with his nephew and night watchman Jack Ellington following him, “attempted to stop the three on the stairway leading to the street as the crowd was leaving the hall.”
A gun battle pursued and “threw the crowd into a panic.”
Parks was struck by four bullets from a “.45 caliber Colt automatic pistol.” One of the bullets severed his spine. Another struck him in the forehead. “The right side of the abdomen had been pierced and the left arm was shattered and a bullet had entered the left shoulder, ranging downward.” (The Breckenridge American, Vol. 12–No. 91, March 17, 1932).
“Before he died, however, he fired three shots which brought down his alleged slayer, “shattering Roberts’ leg bone just above the knee (The Breckenridge American Vol. 12 - No. 92, Friday, March 18, 1932) and gave a superficial wound to another suspect” (The Breckenridge American, Vol. 12–No. 91, March 17, 1932).
Roberts was arrested on site while the other two escaped during the panic.
Twelve hours after the shooting Bybee was arrested in South Bend by Sheriff J.B. Foster of Graham.
On April 7, 1932 Bybee was found guilty on a charge of murder in connection with the dance hall shooting of Ollie Parks. Bybee’s “punishment was fixed at a life term in the penitentiary” (The Abilene Morning News, April 7, 1932).
Roberts was found guilty of the charged murder of Deputy parks on May 18, 1932. His punishment was set at 99 years penitentiary imprisonment (The Breckenridge American Vol. 12 - No. 144, Wednesday, May 18, 1932).