Deputy Sheriff John Robert Saxerud

Deputy Sheriff John Robert Saxerud

Island County Sheriff's Office, Washington

End of Watch Saturday, November 14, 1987

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John Robert Saxerud

Deputy Saxerud and Deputy William Heffernan were shot and killed by a man they had arrested for drunk driving. As they took the man into the processing area of the jail the man pulled out a concealed handgun and shot them both, killing them almost instantly.

The suspect was convicted of two counts of aggravated first degree murder and sentenced to two life terms.

Deputy Saxerud was survived by his wife and two daughters.


  • Age 31
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Sentenced to life

Most Recent Reflection

View all 18 Reflections

To the friends and families of Deputies Saxerud and Heffernan: for whatever small comfort it might give. I grew up in Coupeville and Oak Harbor in Island County. More than one of my friends growing up later became fellow Island County Deputies of these two men or Police Officers in Oak Harbor.

In the early 80’s I became a Police Officer in a small California town. I always retained the lesson learned by the fate of these two wonderful men. Anything can happen, even in a small town. I thank them for their service and sacrifice.

Investigator (retired), Kris Nelsen
Bishop, California Police Department

April 23, 2019

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