Officer Claude E. Ryan

Officer Claude E. Ryan

Okemah Police Department, Oklahoma

End of Watch Saturday, February 26, 1927

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Claude E. Ryan

Officer Claude Ryan was shot and killed when he interrupted a burglary in progress at a local warehouse at approximately 9:30 pm.

A local auto dealer manager saw Officer Ryan pass by and then heard a gunshot in an alley a few minutes later. Officer Ryan's body was found in the alley with a gunshot wound to the chest. The warehouse next to where Officer Ryan was found had been burglarized.

Four suspects were eventually apprehended. Three were convicted of murder and sentenced to life. The fourth suspect was acquitted but held for authorities in Texas, Illinois, Montana, and Kansas for armed robberies and other crimes he committed. One who was sentenced, an associate of Pretty Boy Floyd, was released in 1933 because he had tuberculosis. Days later he robbed a bank in Topeka, Kansas, and then was shot when he and another man tried to kidnap a farmer. He lost his arm as a result of the shooting and was returned to the Oklahoma Penitentiary. In 1946 he was released again but soon returned after he burglarized a business in Dodge City, Kansas. In 1961, at age 61, he was released for the third time but arrested in 1968 by FBI agents for robbing a bank in Alvord,Texas, six months earlier. After serving a sentence in Texas he was killed in 1983 in a traffic accident in Tulsa. Another who was sentenced, the suspect who shot Officer Ryan, was an escapee from the Kansas Penitentiary.

Officer Ryan had served with the Okemah Police Department for four years.


  • Age Not available
  • Tour 4 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Sentenced to life


Most Recent Reflection

View all 8 Reflections

My great grandfather was truly a hero. I learned more about this incident today. RIP and will meet you someday. Thank you for your service.

Kay Evans
Great granddaughter

March 4, 2023

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