Deputy Sheriff Joseph Runions

Deputy Sheriff Joseph Runions

Mercer County Sheriff's Office, North Dakota

End of Watch Thursday, April 3, 1941

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Joseph Runions

Deputy Sheriff Joe Runions succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained the previous day while searching for stolen property on a farm.

A representative from a bank that owned the stolen storm shudders had gone to the farm owned by the suspect. While searching a granary, the suspect ordered them out and then opened fire with a .410 gauge shotgun, striking Deputy Runions in the face and the other man in the shoulder. The two men then attempted to take cover.

The suspect then obtained a .22 caliber rifle and shot the other man in the head as he ran from the granary, killing him. Deputy Runions took cover as the suspect continued firing and was not struck again. The suspect was arrested a short time later.

Deputy Runions was taken to a hospital in Bismarck, where he died of his wounds the following day.

The 61-year-old suspect was convicted of two counts of murder and sentenced to life. He died in prison on May 10, 1955.

Deputy Runions was a United States Army World War I veteran. He was survived by his wife and 14-year-old daughter.


  • Age 47
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Wednesday, April 2, 1941
  • Weapon Shotgun; 410 gauge
  • Offender Sentenced to life

building search

Most Recent Reflection

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Deputy Sheriff Runions,
On today, the 81st anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice-not just as a Law Enforcement Officer but for our Country as well when you served with the U.S. Armed Forces during World War I(I found the picture of your grave with a veteran’s headstone on but couldn’t make out your branch of service but because of your age I’m assuming WW I).


United States Border Patrol

April 3, 2022

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