Patrolman Ward Lee Canfield

Patrolman Ward Lee Canfield

Minneapolis Police Department, Minnesota

End of Watch Thursday, March 2, 2000

Add to My Heroes

Ward Lee Canfield

Officer Ward Canfield died of pneumonia which he contracted due to gunshot wounds he received on August 17, 1957.

The Hennepin County, Minnesota coroner ruled his death a homicide due to the gunshot wounds.

On the day of the incident, Officer Canfield and his partner, Officer Robert Fossum, began chasing a stolen car, not knowing that the three occupants were en route to rob a local market. During the chase the suspects began firing at the officers' squad car, before crashing. As the officers approached, the suspects opened fire again, striking Officer Fossum in the head, killing him.

As the suspects attempted to escape, they also shot Officer Canfield before striking him with their vehicle and dragging him approximately 30 feet. The suspects, all brothers, were able to elude authorities for 28 days before they were located. Two of the suspects were shot and killed in a shootout with police, and the third suspect committed suicide in jail in 1958.

Officer Canfield was forced to retire due to his injuries in 1960 and was confined to a wheelchair and his bed. His injuries required him to have 97 blood transfusions and over 100 surgeries.

He had served with the Minneapolis Police Department for 12 years at the time of the incident.


  • Age 78
  • Tour 12 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Saturday, August 17, 1957
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Two shot and killed

Most Recent Reflection

View all 23 Reflections

Rest in peace always knowing that your memory, service and sacrifice will never, ever be forgotten by your law enforcement brethren.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

August 17, 2020

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.