Detective James L. Wells

Detective James L. Wells

Seattle Police Department, Washington

End of Watch Sunday, November 28, 1897

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James L. Wells

Detective James Wells was shot and killed by a suspect he was transporting in a horse-drawn wagon to police headquarters.

When they arrived at headquarters the prisoner produced a handgun and shot Detective Wells. Detective Wells was able to return fire, striking the suspect as he fled. The man was arrested was captured a short time later.

The subject was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 12 years of hard labor. On July 26, 1908, he shot and killed a man in Ferry County. On May 28, 1909, he was apprehended in Quesne, British Columbia, after a chase through Victoria. He was returned to Washington, convicted of second-degree murder, and sent back to prison.

Detective Wells had served with the Seattle Police Department for five years and had previously served with the King County Sheriff's Department for two years.


  • Age 38
  • Tour 7 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Sentenced to 12 years

arrest, transport

Most Recent Reflection

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Det. Wells,
On today, the 125th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Seattle.


United States Border Patrol

November 28, 2022

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