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Chief of Detectives John W. Rowan | Colorado Springs Police Department, Colorado Colorado Springs Police Department, Colorado

Chief of Detectives

John W. Rowan

Colorado Springs Police Department, Colorado

End of Watch: Friday, September 13, 1918

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 44

Tour: 14 years

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Gun; Unknown type

Offender: Several shot and killed

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Chief of Detectives John Rowan was shot and killed after he and other officers attempted to arrest several members of the notorious Lewis-Jones Gang. He had learned that the gang was headed towards the city and was informed they were at a local gas station. As the officers arrived they were engaged in a shootout and Chief of Detectives Rowan was shot in the head.

It is thought that the same men were responsible for the murder of Denver, Colorado, Policeman Luther McMahill the following day, although the identities of Policeman McMahill's killers were never confirmed. Several of the suspects were arrested. Two others were shot and killed in Los Angeles County, California, following a shootout in which Deputy George Van Vliet, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, was shot and killed.

Chief Rowan was survived by his wife and son.

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Related Line of Duty Deaths

Policeman Luther McMahill
Denver Police Department, Colorado
End of Watch: Saturday, September 14, 1918
Cause: Gunfire

Deputy Sheriff George W. Van Vliet
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, California
End of Watch: Tuesday, November 19, 1918
Cause: Gunfire

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95 years ago today, you made the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of our city and its citizens. For that, we are eternally grateful.

Rest in peace, sir, we'll take it from here.

Cadet Sam Yanez
Explorer, Colorado Springs Police Department, son of a CSPD Officer
September 13, 2013


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