Sergeant Harry W. Oebels

Sergeant Harry W. Oebels

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, Missouri

End of Watch Friday, July 8, 1966

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Harry W. Oebels

Sergeant Harry Oebels was shot and killed when he intervened in a robbery at a pharmacy at 4221 Bayless Avenue in Lemay.

He had gone to the pharmacy to pick up his wife who worked there when two men entered and announced a holdup. When the two men ordered Sergeant Oebels to come closer, he drew his revolver and exchanged shots with the suspects. He was fatally wounded in the exchange of shots. One of his shots struck one of the suspects in the buttocks.

Three weeks later, one suspect, a 38-year-old ex-convict, was apprehended near Bonne Terre when he was stopped in a stolen car. He swore he was innocent. In March of 1967 he was tried and acquitted. On April 2, 1967, an Illinois state trooper was tipped off with information as to who the killers were. One, the actual gunman, 41, was serving a 10 to 20 year sentence for burglary in Illinois State Penitentiary. Shortly afrer he entered prison, in August of 1966, a bullet was removed from his buttock. A ballistics test proved the bullet came from Sergeant Oesbels' service revolver. On April 21, 1967, the other suspect, 28, and his wife, 18, were apprehended in Aurora, Illinois. It was determined that the first suspect was telling the truth. He was innocent. He looked so much like one suspect he was misidentified. In 1969 the gunman was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. His sentence was commuted to life on March 15, 1973. The other man was convicted of second degree murder in 1967 and sentenced to 15 years.

Sergeant Oebels had been with the agency for 18 years and was survived by his wife.


  • Age 48
  • Tour 18 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .45 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to life

off duty, robbery

Most Recent Reflection

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I was one of the first two County officers to arrive on scene that night. It has remained with me all this time.

Robert Counts, Former Patrolman
St. Louis County police

September 8, 2020

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