Patrolman Harold Bechtelheimer

Patrolman Harold Bechtelheimer

Colorado State Patrol, Colorado

End of Watch Wednesday, September 14, 1949

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Harold Bechtelheimer

Patrolman Harold Bechtelheimer was shot and killed after stopping a vehicle for speeding on Highway 85-87 north of Colorado Springs.

Unbeknownst to Patrolman Bechtelheimer, the two occupants had stolen the vehicle earlier in the evening and had robbed a nearby liquor store. Before Patrolman Bechtelheimer caught up to them the men had stopped due to a mechanical problem with the vehicle.

One of the suspects was looking underneath the front of the vehicle when Patrolman Bechtelheimer approached and was not observed by Patrolman Bechtelheimer. As he spoke with the driver the second man snuck around the vehicle and stuck a pistol in Patrolman Bechtelheimer's back. Patrolman Bechtelheimer spun around and struck the man with his flashlight before being shot in the chest.

Both men, ages 16 and 21, were later apprehended and sentenced to life. On January 24th, 1955, the 16-year-old received another life sentence when he was convicted of stabbing to death a fellow inmate. He was still in prison in 1983. On March 6, 1968, the other man's sentence was commuted to 30 years making him eligible for parole in February 1969.

Patrolman Bechtelheimer had served with the Colorado State Patrol for just over four years. He was survived by his wife and two children.


  • Age 40
  • Tour 4 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .32 caliber
  • Offender Both sentenced to life

juvenile offender, robbery, stolen vehicle, traffic stop

Most Recent Reflection

View all 14 Reflections

Rest in peace Uncle Harold. You are a hero to our family and inspired me to be a law enforcement officer. Your picture hangs in a place of honor in my home.

Lee Ann Smith Williams
Great Niece

January 30, 2023

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