Just after midnight on the morning of September 26, 1895, Officer John McCormick and Officer Bishop responded to Salter's Bar, located in an area of Tampa that was known as "the scrub".
Upon arrival, Ms. Lula Williams, who made a complaint against Ms. Ela Felter, met the officers. Officer McCormick placed Ms. Felter under arrest. Mr. Harry Singleton, boyfriend of Ms. Felter, came across the street and approached Officer McCormick. Mr. Singleton pulled a 38-caliber revolver and shot Officer McCormick once in the stomach. The resulting wound was instantly fatal to Officer McCormick.
The suspect fled on foot and Officer Bishop fired one shot at him, but missed and struck a nearby cabby's horse, killing it. Ms. Felter fled the scene and was later arrested in the morning.
A police squad was formed and led by Mayor Frederick Salomonson. After several weeks, Singleton was arrested in an area north of downtown and charged with the death of Officer McCormick.
Officer John McCormick left behind a widow and five children, with no support. Mayor Solomonson requested donations from the citizens of Tampa to assist Officer McCormick's family. The Morning Tribune began the trust fund with a $5.00 donation. It is noted that five dollars in 1895 was nearly a month's salary.