Due to a rash of robberies, Sergeant Fitzgibbons and his partner, Patrolman Thomas Quarles, were working an off-duty plainclothes detail. They were investigating an armed robbery of a man by two (2) suspects from the previous day when one of the suspects got scared and ran away. The victim, after notifying police, spotted both suspects near the area of the robbery and notified police again.
Followed by police, one of the suspects was able to escape on foot as police tried to arrest them both. The second suspect was later identified through the first suspect and Sergeant Fitzgibbons and his partner went to the suspect's house to arrest him. After waiting outside the house for nearly two (2) hours, Sergeant Fitzgibbons was shot in the stomach, as he and his partner attempted to arrest the suspect. During an exchange of gunfire, the suspect, Irvin Anderson, was able to flee on foot. The suspect was arrested the next morning at the home of his grandfather in Underwood, Indiana.
The 19-year-old ex-convict was arrested, convicted of the murder of Sergeant Fitzgibbons, and sentenced to life. He was paroled in 1930. During his 12 years in prison, he escaped three (3) times. In 1933, he was returned to prison for 20 years following his conviction for several payroll hold-ups in Louisville. In December 1933, he escaped from prison a fourth time. Two (2) months later, he and another escapee were captured near Lexington. He received an additional 18 years for robbing a store and robbing and kidnapping a taxi driver before his capture.
Sergeant Fitzgibbons served with the Louisville Police Department for 22 years.