Officer John A. Vickers

Officer John A. Vickers

El Centro Police Department, California

End of Watch Tuesday, May 3, 1977

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John A. Vickers

Officer John Vickers and Officer Arthur Hennesay were shot and killed when they were ambushed as they answered a complaint of a stuck car horn in a motel parking lot.

As Officer Vickers was looking for the owner he was shot three times. Officer Hennesay arrived of the scene and was shot through his windshield. The next officer, arriving on the scene, arrested one suspect, a 22-year-old man, as two others ran from the scene. The other two suspects, a 24-year-old man and his 17-year-old wife, were captured at a nearby motel.

Three hours later the parents, of the first suspect arrested, were found shot to death at a motel they managed in San Diego. The car with the stuck horn belonged to them. All three suspects lived at the motel with them. All three were charged with four counts of murder.

One male suspect, 22, was convicted of four counts of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison He said his parents had served their purpose in life. He was denied parole on June 1, 2022. His next parole hearing is in June of 2027. The other suspect was convicted of two counts of first degree murder and sentenced to 10 years to life.

Officer Vickers had served with the El Centro Police Department for two years. He is survived by his wife, son, and daughter.


  • Age 30
  • Tour 2 years
  • Badge 321

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Rifle; .30 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to life


Most Recent Reflection

View all 24 Reflections

In 1977 I was a San Diego police officer. I had arrested one of these suspects days prior for parole violation (under the influence of heroin) and placed him in jail. A violation of his parole should have sent him back to prison. Instead, the courts decided to divert him to the local drug coalition. If the courts had done their job, these officers would still be alive. My deepest heartfelt condolences to their families. May they both rest in peace.

Michael Kerins
Patrolman, San Diego Police 1973-1981

June 15, 2023

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