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Patrolman James P. Lewis | San Diego Police Department, California San Diego Police Department, California

Patrolman

James P. Lewis

San Diego Police Department, California

End of Watch: Tuesday, December 29, 1970

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 23

Tour: 2 years

Badge # 995

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Handgun

Offender: Sentenced to life

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Patrolman James Lewis was shot and killed while off duty when identified himself as a police officer.

He and two other officers had gone to a bar when they noticed several individuals giving the doorman a hard time. Patrolman Lewis identified himself as an officer and escorted the men to their car to get identification. Instead, one of the men produced a handgun and shot Patrolman Lewis. Although mortally wounded, he was able to return fire, striking the vehicle several times.

The bullet holes in the car helped identify the suspects when the car was found several days later. The suspects were arrested and sentenced to life. While in prison one of the suspects murdered another prisoner to prevent him from testifying in a court case. The suspect was sentenced to a second life sentence for that murder.

Patrolman Lewis had served with the agency for two years. He was survived by his wife and daughter.

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I met this Officer's brother this morning and learned of Officer Lewis' commitment and loss through casual conversation. Happy to be remembering him and his service to the community as I read about this tragedy over 46 years later.

Lt. Scott Zimmerman
Metropolitan Public Safety
February 9, 2017

 

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