Deputy Sheriff John Warren Liebenstein

Deputy Sheriff John Warren Liebenstein

Rice County Sheriff's Department, Minnesota

End of Watch Friday, May 3, 1996

John Warren Liebenstein

Deputy John Liebenstein was killed by a vehicle that rammed his patrol car at 90 mph during a pursuit. Deputy Liebenstein was blocking an interstate ramp so the car, which was being driven by a 17-year-old, could not exit the interstate. The juvenile was taken into custody after being treated at a local hospital. He was convicted of first-degree murder and was given a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Deputy Liebenstein had served with the agency for 9 years. He was survived by his wife and three children.


  • Age 40
  • Tour 9 years
  • Badge 115

Incident Details

  • Cause Vehicle pursuit
  • Weapon Automobile
  • Offender Apprehended

Most Recent Reflection

View all 13 Reflections


I was just a punk kid working at the Big Steer gas station when I got to know you. Thank you John, as I am now surpassed the age you were when you were taken, and recognize and appreciate more now than ever what it is you gave. You were a funny and inspiring man to me as a kid. I looked up to you then, and I remember you still today.
I will never forget the day you were taken from our community. The shock of learning how quickly an event I watched pass in front of me on I-35 from my motorcycle on the frontage road south of 19 would come to be one remembered so exactly for the rest of my life... The officers from around the country that came for your funeral too will forever be remembered.
For me, you would still be here if someone had not left their car running while taking care of a simple and momentary task. A single second in their life I am sure they wish they could have back. For this, a lesson in life, I NEVER leave my car running or even unlocked when unattended. When I see people leave their car running with keys in the ignition, I tell people of my memory of you. I kindly ask them not to make this simple selfish oversight in the future. It is my small tribute to you, for your sacrifice, and memory...
To your Family and fellow officers who miss you most, should they ever see this, Thank you... I will never forget.

Kevin Damgard
Former kid remembers your humor and big smile who looked up to John

July 20, 2018

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