End of Watch: December 18, 1931
Years of Service: 1
Badge #: 77
Cause of Death: Gunfire
National Memorial Panel: 32-W: 2
Trooper Arthur L. Staples, Jr., was killed by gunfire while transporting individuals to the barracks for questioning.
Trooper Staples was shot twice while transporting two 17-year-old Pawtucket youths to the barracks after chasing and eventually stopping the stolen car they were driving in North Kingstown. One of the youths produced a firearm while riding in the backseat, which he used to shoot Trooper Staples in the back of the head. After shooting Trooper Staples, the juveniles escaped from the cruiser and ran from the scene. One was found approximately two miles away from where the incident occurred. After he named his accomplice, a manhunt ensued involving over 500 Rhode Island and Connecticut police officers and volunteers. The runaway was found the following day in the backseat of a car in New York. He was brought back to Rhode Island where he was put on trial, eventually confessing to firing the fatal shots and leaving Trooper Staples by the side of Tower Hill Road.
Trooper Staples gave his life while in the performance of his duty and died upholding the highest traditions of the Rhode Island State Police and "In the Service of the State." He was the second member of the Rhode Island State Police to die in the line of duty.