Detective Swain was shot and killed inside a garage at 7th and Christian streets, South Philadelphia.
Detective Swain was killed when he attempted to stop a gun battle involving six men and a woman. The fracas was the result of a long-standing feud that came to a head when shots were fired through the garage window about 1 am. The owner came out and confronted a man and he later returned with his wife and two other men. An argument ensued and passing officers ordered them to disperse and they did so temporarily. Just after the officers rounded a corner, the gunfire started. Detective Swain was passing by and stopped to intervene. He was shot in the neck while trying to rescue one man who was about to be stabbed. He was subsequently shot four more times and died on the spot. Detective Swain shot and killed his assailant, the garage owner and severely wounded the garage owner's son in the gun battle. Five suspects were arrested and three were detained as material witnesses.
Detective Swain had served with the agency for 18 years and was assigned to the Auto Squad. He was a recognized expert on auto theft and vehicle identification. He was survived by his wife and son. He was also a veteran of the Spanish-American war