Police Officer Vernon J. Owings

Police Officer Vernon J. Owings

Long Beach Police Department, California

End of Watch Friday, June 24, 1960

Vernon J. Owings

Officer Owings was shot and killed when he and his partner stopped to help what they thought were two men having car trouble on Seaside Boulevard. One of the men produced a handgun and shot and killed Officer Owings. Both men were apprehended.

The gunman was the leader of a gang responsible for 70 holdups that netted the gang more than one hundred thousand dollars. He was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death on November 2, 1960. His sentence was later commuted to life.


  • Age 31
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Sentenced to life

Most Recent Reflection

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For three months prior to his killing, my late father was Vern’s partner on the Long Beach Police Department. They both came to my elementary school class in uniform as part of a “show and tell” exercise describing the job of a given student’s parent.

The night of Vern’s killing, my father was temporarily reassigned to work with a new rookie officer in a different part of Long Beach.

Needless to say, my father was crushed when Vern was killed.

The killer, Doyle Terry, was sentenced to death in the San Quentin Gas Chamber, but escaped that punishment years later when the CA Supreme Court ruled the death penalty was unconstitutional. That ruling was eventually overturned, but Terry was able to avoid his death penalty from being reinstated.

Ken O’Farrell

May 26, 2018

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