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Chief of Police William M. Cann | Union City Police Department, California Union City Police Department, California

Chief of Police

William M. Cann

Union City Police Department, California

End of Watch: Thursday, August 29, 1974

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 32

Tour: 11 years

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Incident Date: 6/11/1974

Weapon: Rifle; .30 caliber

Offender: Convicted of second degree murder

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Chief Cann succumbed to gunshot wounds received almost three months earlier when he was shot during a community meeting to discuss the relations between the police department and the Hispanic community.

Five shots were fired from a a .30 rifle through a window from approximately 60 feet away. Chief Cann was hit twice in the neck and three civilians were shot. The three civilians survived.

The suspect, a former member of a militant group, was convicted of second degree murder.

Chief Cann had served as the Chief of the Union City Police Department for 15 months when he was injured. He had previously served with the San Anselmo, Novato, and San Bruno Police Departments.

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I was a citizen present at the meeting where Chief Cann was shot and three other people were injured, including one next to me. It was one of the most terrifying events of my life, so I followed news reports closely in the months ahead. It is my recall that, shortly after the shooting, a group called the Chicano Liberation Front claimed responsibility for the events of that evening. Whether there was ever a proven connection to the suspect who was eventually charged and convicted of the killing, I don't know. But I was also following the very open claims of the Symbionese Liberation Army around that period of time. And, to my knowledge,, there was never any claim or suggestion of their involvement in this tragic event.

Susan Starkey
Attended meeting where this occurred
May 4, 2016


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