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Patrolman Ralph Howard | Fort Smith Police Department, Arkansas Fort Smith Police Department, Arkansas


Ralph Howard

Fort Smith Police Department, Arkansas

End of Watch: Friday, September 4, 1931

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 53

Tour: 20 years

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Incident Date: 9/2/1931

Weapon: Gun; Unknown type

Offender: Shot and killed

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Patrolman Howard and Captain William Bourland were shot and killed during a shootout of several armed robbery suspects. The officers had located three suspects who had robbed a store in Spiro, Oklahoma, earlier in the evening. They began to chase the car down Spiro Highway and chased them onto Towson Avenue where they ran it off the road near South Y Street. A shootout ensued and Captain Bourland, Patrolman Howard, and all three suspects were shot. One of the suspects died at the scene.

Captain Bourland was shot in the head, and twice in the chest. He was pronounced dead at St. Edward Hospital. Patrolman Howard was struck in neck, chest, and both hands. He succumbed to his wounds two days later. The two surviving suspects were taken into custody. Both were sentenced to life in prison but the sentence of one of the suspects was commuted and he was paroled.

Patrolman Howard had been with the agency for 20 years and was survived by his wife, son and daughter.

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Related Line of Duty Deaths

Captain William A. Bourland
Fort Smith Police Department, Arkansas
End of Watch: Wednesday, September 2, 1931
Cause: Gunfire

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Patrolman Howard,
On today, the 81st anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Ft. Smith.


U.S. Border Patrol
September 4, 2012


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