Elton B. Hummer was born in Loudoun on August 15, 1898, the youngest of four children of Alpheus and Clara Hummer. He grew up in present-day Sterling and worked there on the family farm. As an unmarried adult, he lived with his elderly parents at 806 Duke Street. On August 17, 1927, he became an Alexandria police officer.
Officer Hummer immediately enjoyed success at the police department and was promoted to the rank of sergeant on June 1, 1928. He played on the police baseball team and was described as “one of the most popular officers on the force."
As Sergeant Hummer began his midnight shift on August 18, 1928, he said goodnight to his parents and left his home. About an hour later, he was on foot in the same neighborhood, checking the outlying beats. He was literally just around the corner from his own home when he was shot.
Witnesses report hearing two men talking in the alley next to 224 South Alfred Street. They then heard one man warn the other in a raised voice that this was the "last time." Two shots rang out in close succession and a third followed. When neighbors ran to see what had happened, they found Sergeant Hummer critically injured on the pavement. Sergeant Hummer’s weapon was still near his hand and he was barely alive when neighbors reached him. He had been shot in the chest and groin, and when he arrived at Alexandria Hospital he was pronounced dead.
Some neighbors told police that after they heard gunfire, they saw a man running west on Duke Street, holding his side as though he were injured. Investigation concluded that Sergeant Hummer was shot twice with an automatic .45-caliber gun. He had managed to fire his weapon once. A massive manhunt ensued and all available resources, from an airplane to ballistic experts, were used to search for the assailant. But Sergeant Hummer’s murderer was never identified.
Sergeant Hummer, 30, was survived by his parents and brother, Milton. He is buried at Ivy Hill Cemetery in Alexandria.