Officer Charles H. Sorenson

Officer Charles H. Sorenson

California Highway Patrol, California

End of Watch Friday, March 15, 1963

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Charles H. Sorenson

Officer Charles Sorenson was shot and killed in Rio Vista, California, while chasing two suspected armed robbers.

He was on patrol when he spotted the suspect vehicle traveling in the opposite direction. He gave chase to the vehicle until it crashed near the Rio Vista Bridge over the Sacramento River. The suspects fled into an abandoned house and then shot Officer Sorenson in the neck as as he came around the corner.

The two suspects then stole Officer Sorenson's cruiser and led other officers on a chase at speeds of 130 mph. The suspects were finally stopped when they rammed a police roadblock six miles east of Fairfield, killing Deputy Sheriff Hale Humphrey of the Solano County Sheriff's Department. Both suspects, ages 18 and 16, were apprehended and charged in the deaths of both officers.

The 16-year-old suspect was turned over to the California Youth Authority. The 18-year-old suspect, who was the driver of the car and the gunman, was convicted of first degree murder of Officer Sorenson and second degree murder of Deputy Humphrey and sentenced to death on September 17th, 1963. On August 23rd, 1966, his sentence was commuted to life. He was paroled from Soledad Prison in September of 1978.


  • Age 32
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge 2341

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Paroled in 1978

foot pursuit, pursuit, robbery

Most Recent Reflection

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I was a Sacramento Squad car officer when Sorensen radioed he was in pursuit. I was N/B on 99 south of Sacramento and moving. Sorenson's unit went past me headed south flashing lights with siren at full play. It took me a full 5 minutes to reach an overpass and head south in support. I was copying radio from both Sorensen and CHP radio and I pushed my worn out unit to its maximum. The pursuit turned west headed into area I had never patrolled before. House movers suddenly got between me and Sorensen now miles ahead. The house on wheels must have entered the rural road right after Sorensen passed. It's width spanned fence to fence. I was stopped and began backing up. I also copied that another Sacto officer had joined the pursuit as well as well a the sheriff's department. Fifteen minutes later one of the officers called in the death of Charles. I then heard that a road clock killed a deputy beside his blockade. It was a bad day that might have included me in some way.

TO, Jack Morris

March 16, 2019

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