Patrolman William Howard Thompson

Patrolman William Howard Thompson

Salem Police Department, Virginia

End of Watch Sunday, April 5, 1970

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William Howard Thompson

Patrolman William Thompson was shot and killed by a suspect who had barricaded himself in his house when police tried to serve an arrest warrant.

Patrolman Thompson was just getting off duty when he heard the call come out. He had responded to the address earlier in the evening and decided to lend his assistance as he believed he had developed a rapport with the suspect.

As Patrolman Thompson looked through a window he was struck in the head by a shotgun blast. The suspect, 68, was convicted second degree murder and sentenced to 20 years. He was denied parole in 1976.

Patrolman Thompson had served with the Salem Police Department for seven years. He was survived by his wife and two young daughters.


  • Age 30
  • Tour 7 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Shotgun; 12 gauge
  • Offender Setenced to life

barricade, warrant service

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We remember not only that you died, but you also lived and that your life gave us memories too beautiful to forget. The reality is that we continue to grieve. We have never "gotten over" the loss of you; we've only learned to live with it. If there's any consolation to be felt here, it is that Patrolman Thompson was a hero and HEROES LIVE FOREVER.


April 5, 2023

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