Chief William Henry Armsey

Chief William Henry Armsey

Olney Police Department, Illinois

End of Watch Sunday, July 28, 1940

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William Henry Armsey

Chief William Armsey was shot to death and the Richland County sheriff was seriously wounded as they attempted to arrest a man who was wanted for assaulting another officer.

The suspect had severely beaten a deputy sheriff who had been assigned to guard the suspect's estranged wife whom he had previously threatened. According to reports, the officers went to the suspect's mother's house to make the arrest. Although the suspect resisted at first, he was quickly handcuffed. At that point, he asked the officers if he could go in the house to get a clean shirt. Once inside, the suspect appeared at a window holding a shotgun and yelled a threat to both officers.

Chief Armsey, who had lost his pistol in the scuffle with the suspect, was shot at point-blank range and died instantly. The sheriff, who was not armed, ran to the back door of the suspect's house, but was wounded when he tried to enter and grab the suspect from behind.

The suspect was arrested without incident a short time later by a state police officer, taken to the Newton County Jail as a precaution against mob violence and charged with first-degree murder. On December 18, 1940, the suspect was convicted of murder and sentenced to 35 years. He had a parole hearing in 1953 but the result is not known.

Chief Armsey had served with the Olney Police Department for 15 years. He was survived by his wife and three children.


  • Age 57
  • Tour 15 years
  • Badge 1

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Sentenced to 35 years

Most Recent Reflection

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Thank you for your service and please know that your sacrifice is one that will never, ever be forgotten by your law enforcement brethren. Rest in peace always.

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

July 28, 2020

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