Charles D. Powell, Brickyard Foreman
Oklahoma State Penitentiary
End of Watch: May 11, 1936
On May 11, 1936, prisoners were being fed lunch in the brickyard when a jail break occurred. Twenty-four men charged at four officers, including Powell, with prison-made knives. Powell attempted to escape from them but was struck on the head with a piece of pipe. Powell and the other officers, Tuck Cope, W.W. Gossett, and Victor Conn, were then forced toward the nearest guard tower. When the prisoners demanded that the two tower officers throw down their guns, the officers complied.
The now armed inmates forced their captives to a nearby car and fourteen of the escapees crammed themselves into and onto the running boards of the car. As the car began moving, other officers opened fire on the escaping inmates and hostages. Officer Cope was wounded in the neck, Officer Gossett in the stomach and Officer Powell was fatally hit in the head. Officer Powell’s body was dumped nearly a mile away on a McAlester thoroughfare.
In the resulting melee, ten of the inmates were wounded and six were rapidly recaptured. Eight escaped for periods ranging from a few hours to several weeks, but all were subsequently recaptured.
Officer Powell had been with the agency for five years was survived by his wife and two children.