Richard B. Creecy – Lieutenant Colonel, United States Marine Corps


R. B. Creecy of Marines, Back From Haiti, Left No Motive For Washington Tragedy
Hatchet Used In Attack And Pistol In Suicide Found In Hotel Room

WASHINGTON, September 28, 1930

Lieutenant Colonel Richard B. Creecy of the Marine Corps committed suicide in a room at the Mayflower Hotel this morning after attempting to kill his wife, Mrs. Louise Reifsnider Creecy, with a small hatchet.  The suicide and attempted murder were discovered late this afternoon when the door of the room was forced open after housemaids had tried for hours to get a response to their raps for entry.

Colonel Creecy evidently had killed himself with a .38 caliber revolver, lying on the floor with only one chamber discharged.

Mrs. Creecy lay unconscious beside a bed.  Three deep gashes, presumably made with a new hatchet found in the room, had been made in her head.  At the Emergency Hospital, where blood transfusions were tried, her condition was regarded as very serious.  Her skull was fractured.

The police could find no motive for the tragedy, Colonel and Mrs. Creecy, known as a devoted couple, recently returned on leave from Haiti, where he was a high rankling officer in the constabulary organized by the Marines.

Physicians fixed the time of the tragedy at between 2 and 3 o'clock this morning.  When members of the hotel staff were called to the room by maids, they found on the door a printed “Don't Disturb” sign on which had been written, apparently by Colonel Creecy: “Call J. L. Reifsnider at Westminister, Maryland.”

This referred to Mrs. Creecy's brother, who with other relatives, hastened to her side at the hospital.  They said that the couple had been married for twenty years.  Arriving from Haiti, they had registered at the hotel on September 23 and had paid a visit to Mr. Reifsnider at Westminister.

It was learned that Colonel and Mrs. Creecy visited his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Edward W. Creecy, at the Gordon Hotel last night, leaving them only a few hours before the tragedy.  Mr. and Mrs. Creecy said that their son and his wife were in good spirits and that nothing in the Colonel's words or bearing suggested other than a normal state of mind.  Mrs. and Mrs. Creecy, besides their hotel residence, have a home in Laurel, Maryland.

Mr. Creecy, whose family came from Louisiana, was appointed to the Naval Academy by President Lincoln in 1863.  He presented a letter of recommendation that had been signed by Jefferson Davis.  Mr. Lincoln smiled and said the Navy needed more men from that part of the country.

Major General Ben M. Fuller, Commandant of the Marine Corps, announced tonight that he had directed Brigadier General Rufus Lane to investigate the tragedy and to report to a special board of inquiry to be appointed by the Secretary of the Navy.

General Fuller said that he had known Colonel Creecy and had talked with him only a few days ago, when he appeared to be in good spirits and quite normal.

“Colonel Creecy was well thought of in the Marine Corps” General Fuller said.  “He always had a good record and none of us has any idea why he did such a thing.”

Colonel Creecy was born in this city on March 15, 1885, and was commissioned in the Marine Corps on July 4, 1903.  He received his commission as Lieutenant Colonel in June 1924, and was made as Assistant Adjutant and Inspector General on July 1, 1926.  He was assigned to duty in Haiti last year.

Colonel Creecy's career was almost cut short in 1909 when, as a Lieutenant, he lost a coin toss to Lieutenant Selfridge for the privilege of going up with Orville Wright in an airplane test at Fort Myer.  Lieutenant Selfridge was killed in the subsequent crash and Selfridge Field in Michigan was named for him.

Mrs. Creecy is a daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. John L. Reifsnider, Jr. of Westminister, Maryland.  Hr twin brother, Lieutenant Commander Lawrence Reifsnider is widely known in Washington.  He served as an aide to Vice Admiral Louis M. Nulton when that official was Superintendent of the Navy Academy and is now in command of the U.S.S. Groome.

Marine Officer's Wife, At Capital, Was Attacked By Husband

WASHINGTON, October 5, 1930 – Mrs. Louise R. Creecy, attached with a hatchet last Sunday by her husband, Lieutenant Colonel Richard B. Creecy of the Marine Corps, died early today without regaining consciousness.

The husband, who shot and killed himself after the attack in their suite at the Mayflower Hotel, was buried in Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday with military honors.  A special Naval Board which investigated received information indicating that the officer was temporarily insane.

Lieutenant Colonel Creecy, Vice Commandant of the Marine forces in Haiti, was to have left last Sunday to resume his post.


  • DATE OF DEATH: 09/28/1930

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