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Trooper James Donald Thornton | Kansas Highway Patrol, Kansas Kansas Highway Patrol, Kansas


James Donald Thornton

Kansas Highway Patrol, Kansas

End of Watch: Tuesday, October 2, 1973

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 52

Tour: 24 years

Badge # 47

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Gun; Unknown type

Offender: Shot and killed

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Trooper Thornton was shot and killed while checking on a hitchhiker on I-70 near Topeka, Kansas. The suspect was wanted in New York for the murder of his father. The suspect was shot and killed by other officers when he refused to surrender.

Trooper Thornton had served with the agency for 24 years. He was survived by his wife and two children.

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A sad day for us who served with Jim and will never forget. Jim had only been in the Topeka district about 30 days when he was killed. I never got the chance to become better acquainted with him as he was on the opposite shift than I. What I remember about that day was that I was about to complete the day shift and Jim had just reported to work on the evening shift when his untimely death occurred. Lt. Charlie Williams and I proceeded to I-70 and I 470 to intercept Jim's patrol vehicle which the shooter had stolen after the shooting had occurred. The stolen patrol vehicle turned off the Interstate at MacVicar and went through the old Topeka Stated Hospital grounds being fired on by Sergeant Otie Roberts before becoming involved in a crash at Roosevelt and 6th Street in west Topeka. He was killed in a gun battle with Topeka Police on a service station drive when he refused to surrender.

Laynard Shearer, Lt. Col. KHP (Ret.)
Kansas Highway Patrol
October 2, 2016


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