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Town Sergeant John Smith | Foster Police Department, Rhode Island Foster Police Department, Rhode Island

Town Sergeant

John Smith

Foster Police Department, Rhode Island

End of Watch: Thursday, June 21, 1832

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 83

Tour: 40 years

Badge # Not available

Cause: Assault

Incident Date: 6/21/1832

Weapon: Edged weapon; Axe

Suspect: Executed

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Town Sergeant John Smith was killed as he attempted to arrest a man who was wanted by Connecticut authorities for being a debtor.

The Connecticut authorities had tracked the man into Rhode Island, where he had taunted and threatened them with a weapon. Rhode Island authorities swore out a warrant for the man on the charge that he threatened the officers, and Town Sergeant Smith and a small posse went to enforce the warrant.

When Town Sergeant Smith approached the wanted man, however, the man attacked him with an ax. The man struck Town Sergeant Smith between the shoulder blades, killing him, and then struck him again in the back of the neck.

The assailant then attacked the posse and fled the scene. He was later arrested at the house of a local resident after he bragged about his crime.

The assailant was tried and convicted of killing Town Sergeant Smith. He was sentenced to death and hanged on December 27, 1833.

Town Sergeant Smith was around 83 years old at the time of his death. He had served as the Town Sergeant of Foster for over 40 years, and also acted as a deputy sheriff. He was survived by his wife and two children.

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First and foremost, I cannot help but be awed by Town Sgt. Smith and the efforts he put forth at the age of 83. To think that I dread working another 10 or so years, into my 60s is almost embarrassing after seeing this.

Secondly, I feel that December 27 is now, in my opinion, a day of celebration in knowing that someone as low as the murderer of Sgt. Smith paid the ultimate price for his crimes.

Town Sgt. Smith, this is the 181st anniversary of a tragic and heinous crime. Someone who was of no use to society as it was, compounded his uselessness by murdering a brave soul such as yourself. You sir, on so many levels, are a true hero.

God Bless and I pray you are resting peacefully, Brother.

Ptl. Jim Leahy, Jr.
Harvard University Police Dept.
June 21, 2014

 

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