Marshal William Petersen

Marshal William Petersen

Winthrop Harbor Police Department, Illinois

End of Watch Friday, January 13, 1922

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William Petersen

Marshal William Petersen was shot and killed as he attempted to stop a speeding vehicle.

As Marshal Petersen stood in an auto repair shop, he observed the vehicle speed down the street at approximately 70 mph and nearly strike two children. He gave pursuit on his police motorcycle, and as he was about to overtake the vehicle, one of the occupants leaned out of the window and shot him in the chest and abdomen with a shotgun, killing him instantly.

The suspects were later arrested, and the suspect, identified as the gunman, was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. In 1922, the governor granted clemency and commuted the inmate's sentence to life in prison, but in 1928, the same governor granted the inmate a pardon.

Marshal Petersen was a World War I veteran and was the village's only law enforcement officer.


  • Age 28
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Pardoned in 1928

vehicle pursuit

Most Recent Reflection

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Marshal Petersen,
On today, the 100th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice-not just for your Community but for our Country as well when you served during World War I.


United States Border Patrol

January 13, 2022

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