Bio & Incident Details
Tour: Not available
Badge # 13
Weapon: Rifle; M-16
Offender: Sentenced to life imprisonment
Patrolman Les Schellbach was shot and killed after responding to a shooting call.
Three armed suspects, two of whom were escapees from the Utah State Prison, had robbed a market and ordered the store owner and a customer into a walk-in refrigerator at the rear of the store. The owner slipped out an auxiliary door and called the police. The suspects then fled the store in a vehicle. An off-duty officer was called and responded to the robbery call in his private vehicle without a police radio.
As he responded, he saw the suspect vehicle traveling southbound on Highway 65 from 5th Street. The suspects in the vehicle were wearing masks. He followed the vehicle as it turned westbound on Moore Road, where the suspects spotted him and sped up. The suspects were driving too fast and crashed their car on a sharp turn (just west of what is now Delancy Way). The officer exited his car with his off duty revolver and identified himself as a police officer. He ordered the suspects to surrender, but he was immediately shot in the face, chest, arms, and left side by a shotgun blast during the shootout. The suspects fired multiple rounds at him as he took cover behind his car. Seriously wounded, he ran to a nearby farmhouse to make an emergency phone call to the Lincoln Police Department dispatch.
Officer Leslie Schellbach responded to the shooting call on Moore Road. When he arrived at the scene he was fatally shot in the chest with a semi-automatic M-16 rifle, rupturing his aorta. The suspects fled the scene in the other officer's private vehicle.
One of the subjects was located in a field armed with three firearms. On December 16th, 1971, law enforcement officers arrested the remaining two suspects at an apartment in Sacramento. The suspects were charged with murder, attempted murder, assault against a police officer, armed robbery, auto theft, and conspiracy. In 1972, two of the suspects were convicted of murder and sentenced to life in state prison. The other suspect committed suicide in his jail cell during the murder trial.
Officer Schellbach was survived by his wife and two young children.