Officer James William Bloesch

Officer James William Bloesch

San Francisco Police Department, California

End of Watch Tuesday, August 2, 1988

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James William Bloesch

Officer Bloesch was accidentally shot and killed at the police stables at Golden Gate Park by another officer who was examining his .357-caliber duty weapon.

Officer Bloesch had served with the agency for 17 years and had received a Silver Medal of Valor and two Bronze Medals of Valor. He was survived by his wife and three children, one of whom went on to also serve in law enforcement.


  • Age 37
  • Tour 16 years
  • Badge 1985

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire (Inadvertent)

accidental discharge

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Posted on Daily Republic September 2, 2019
Fairfield California PD Lieutenant strives to keep late father’s legacy alive

FAIRFIELD — Fairfield police Lt. Matt Bloesch was 13 when his father, San Francisco Police Officer James Bloesch, 36, was accidentally killed by his partner Aug. 2, 1988.

The tragedy was compounded by the fact Bloesch learned about his father’s death from a San Francisco radio station.

More irony surfaced when a paramedic called to the scene was James Bloesch’s sister, Irene Ager. With her was her husband, Steven Ager, the registered owner of the gun that shot James Bloesch. He had lent it to his brother-in-law for off-duty use.

The loss of his father and one semester of being a Fire Explorer in high school, only made his resolve stronger to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Bloesch served five years with the Marin County Sheriff’s Office before coming to work for the Fairfield Police Department 15 years ago. He was promoted to lieutenant in July.

His father will always be a hero in his eyes.

“Part of growing up was seeing Dad off to work,” Bloesch said. His father served on the mounted unit at Golden Gate Park. Bloesch, his mother and siblings would often meet him for lunch at Golden Gate Park.

Bloesch would often tag along with his father as he and his horse competed in the Grand Nationals.

“It seems like they won every year,” he said. “It was cool for me to watch and be a part of it.”

There was the time Bloesch was choking on food and his father knew what to do.

“I thought it was the coolest thing he was trained in first aid and CPR,” Bloesch said.

James Bloesch started with the San Francisco Police Department in 1972. He received a Silver Medal of Valor and two Bronze Medals of Valor.

He and a colleague were looking at a .357 Magnum to see if the weapon had been altered so it would fire with a lighter touch. The elder Bloesch and his partner were in the police stables locker room when Officer Robert Mahoney passed the gun to Bloesch. It fired a single shot that struck him in the head.

Bloesch stayed with his grandparents while his mother was at the hospital. Searching for any information, he turned on a San Francisco radio station that announced his father’s name and the fact he died.

Today, Bloesch makes it his mission to keep names private until family have been notified.

He still meets people who remember his late father. They’ll see his name tag and ask, “Are you related to Jim?” Bloesch said.

When Bloesch went to motorcycle school, the lead instructor had worked with his father and shared several stories.

“It’s funny how things come full circle,” he said.

The married father of two adult children, Bloesch said he doesn’t carry a grudge against his dad’s partner.

“He went through a horrible process,” Bloesch said. “It’s something he has to live with the rest of his life.”

Bloesch wants to leave the same legacy his father did.

“He left a positive impact on a lot of people,” Bloesch said. “I want to leave that same mark.”

Just like his father, it’s about doing good, being nice and treating people right, Bloesch said.

Retired Police Officer
New York Police Department

September 2, 2019

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