Chief of Detectives John W. Rowan

Chief of Detectives John W. Rowan

Colorado Springs Police Department, Colorado

End of Watch Friday, September 13, 1918

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John W. Rowan

Chief of Detectives John Rowan was shot and killed after he and other officers attempted to arrest several members of the notorious Lewis-Jones Gang.

He had learned that the gang was headed towards the city and was informed they were at a local gas station. As the officers arrived, they were engaged in a shootout, and Chief of Detectives Rowan was shot in the head.

It is thought that the same men were responsible for the murder of Denver, Colorado, Policeman Luther McMahill the following day, although the identities of Policeman McMahill's killers were never confirmed. Several of the suspects were arrested. Two others were shot and killed in Los Angeles County, California, following a shootout in which Deputy George Van Vliet of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department was shot and killed.

Chief Rowan had served with the Colorado Springs Police Department for 14 years. He was survived by his wife and son.


  • Age 44
  • Tour 14 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Several shot and killed

arrest attempt, gang member

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Your sacrifice Will Not be forgotten. God Bless......

Erwin Paladino
Colorado Springs Police Department

September 18, 2023

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