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Patrolman Ralph T. Russell | Lewiston Police Department, Idaho Lewiston Police Department, Idaho

Patrolman

Ralph T. Russell

Lewiston Police Department, Idaho

End of Watch: Monday, June 15, 1970

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 31

Tour: 7 years

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Handgun; .38 caliber

Offender: Sentenced to life

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Patrolman Russell was shot and killed while questioning two suspicious men in an alley behind a local business. During the questioning one of the men produced a handgun and shot him several times. Patrolman Russell was found with a draft card belonging to one of the suspects in his hand.

The suspect who killed Patrolman Russell had escaped from the Greenville, Tennessee Jail on April 8, 1970. He was being held for four counts of bank robbery, three in Tennessee and one in Bristol, Virgina. He and another Tennessee man fled to the Pacific Northwest where on May 29, 1970, they shot and killed a bartender at a tavern in Portland, Oregon. They were next heard from when they killed Patrolman Russell. On July 9, 1970, they robbed a post office in Malott, Washington. A week later they killed a 70 year old man in Okanogan, Washington by strangulating him, and then stole his car. Both suspects were captured a few weeks later.

The killer of Patrolman Russell was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison on June 16, 1971. The other suspect was allowed to plead guilty to attempted burglary and was sentenced to 7 years in prison. Both suspects were bound over to Oregon officials to be tried for murder in that state.

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I was 15 when Officer Russell ended his shift. He would come by our house and visit my older brother on several occasions( always had something to do with the shenanigans he was up to the night before ) . To this day I still see Ralph pull up in his cruiser and walk up to the house in his uniform. I respected Ralph and looked up to him. I still remember my feelings when Ralph lost his life, so sad how it happened, sad for his wife and young daughter, family , friends and fellow officers.
Ralph, I'll never forget you.

Jeff Cunnington
Respecter of Officers
June 23, 2017

 

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