Patrolman Fred A. Babcock, Jr.

Patrolman Fred A. Babcock, Jr.

Richfield Department of Public Safety, Minnesota

End of Watch Saturday, June 4, 1949

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Fred A. Babcock, Jr.

Patrolman Fred Babcock was shot and killed after he and his partner responded to a burglary call at a grocery store at 76th and Lyndale Avenue South at 2:20 a.m. His partner got out of the patrol car and Patrolman Babcock continued to drive around the business. He located the getaway car but when he ordered the men out of it one opened fire with a .30-caliber rifle, fatally wounding him.

Three men fled in the stolen car. Another fled on foot. With the use of bloodhounds he was captured a few hours later. The next morning a police officer stopped the suspects, including Patrolman Babcock's killer, on U S 10 as they were coming through Mandan, North Dakota. Just after the officer radioed for help, a strangers voice said, "everything is under control". Officers arrived on the scene to find the getaway car but the officer and his patrol car were gone.

The suspects had abducted the officer and forced him to drive them south into South Dakota where the red lights and police police decals were removed. That night they stopped near Laurel, Nebraska, let the officer go, and continued on south. They abandoned the police car and took another car after forcing the 16-year-old driver out. As the sun came up and search planes filled the sky they stopped at a farmhouse and took a couple hostage. After the couple provided food and coffee one decided to stay and give himself up. The other two, one his brother, also the killer, left as it got dark. Near Marysville, Kansas, just over the Nebraska state line, they encountered a washed-out bridge and plunged into a creek. Injured, wet, and cold they walked to a nearby farmhouse and asked the owner for help. The owner was the local sheriff's brother. The two soon found themselves surrounded by deputies.

Patrolman Babcock's killer, 27, was convicted of kidnapping of the North Dakota officer and served 17 years in federal prisons. In 1966 he was released and transferred to Minnesota's Stillwater Prison to finish a term for burglary he was serving before he escaped and murdered Patrolman Babcock. Shortly after his transfer he was charged with Patrolman Babcock's murder. On August 16, 1966, he was convicted of third degree murder and sentenced to 10 years. His brother, 37, served 15 years in federal prison for kidnapping; released in 1964, he also was convicted of third degree murder and sentenced to seven years. The third suspect in the car when it crashed into the creek, age 20, was sentenced to 10 years in a state reformatory on October 28, 1949. On October 17, 1949, the suspect who ran was convicted of third degree murder, violating his parole, and other unrelated crimes, and sentenced to 140 years.

Patrolman Babcock had served with the agency for one year. He was also a decorated WWII Marine Corps veteran and was honored locally when VFW Post #5555 in Richfield was named after him. He was survived by his wife, daughter, and son.

The mayor of Richfield later declared June 14th "Babcock Memorial Day."


  • Age 26
  • Tour 1 year
  • Badge 10
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Rifle; .30 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to 10 years


Most Recent Reflection

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Officer Babcock:
Thanks for your exemplary service to this great nation, as both a Marine and an officer. Your exemplary service to your nation and community should be celebrated by all because of how you lived/served. Thanks for your sacrifice. It sounds like your family is carrying on in an exemplary manner as well.

James Lopey, Assistant Sheriff (Ret)
Washoe County Sheriff's Office (Reno, Nevada)

June 4, 2019

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