City Marshal John M. Swearingen

City Marshal John M. Swearingen

Independence Police Department, Missouri

End of Watch Tuesday, January 15, 1884

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John M. Swearingen

City Marshal John Swearingen was accidentally shot and killed when his gun fell to the floor and discharged inside the city jail.

He had arrested a disorderly man and brought him to the jail along with a deputy county marshal. Marshal Swearingen had placed the man in a cell and bent over to search him when his pistol fell from his pocket. The pistol discharged when it hit the ground, and the round struck Marshal Swearingen in the leg near his groin.

Marshal Swearingen succumbed to his wound the following day.

Marshal Swearingen had served with the Independence Police Department for three separate terms. He was survived by his wife and three children.


  • Age 39
  • Tour 3 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire (Inadvertent)
  • Incident Date Monday, January 14, 1884

accidental discharge, prisoner custody

Most Recent Reflection

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Chief Swearingin,
On today, the 140th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Independence.

BPA Mike Casey
United States Border Patrol(Retired)

January 16, 2024

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