Chief of Detectives Ben L. Bolton

Chief of Detectives Ben L. Bolton

Muskogee Police Department, Oklahoma

End of Watch Thursday, December 5, 1935

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Ben L. Bolton

Chief Bolton died of a gunshot wound he received while attempting to stop six inmates from escaping from the jail. As Chief Bolton reached for his weapon, he was shot in the face. He died two days later from his wounds.

Just before the escape, the wife one of the escapees slipped him a pistol during a visit. He forced a jailer to give him access to a room where he and the others he liberated took shotguns, pistols, and a machine gun. One shot Chief Bolton in the face with a shotgun as they left the jail. As they ran down a nearby ally the Muskogee police chief shot and killed one. The other five forced a local minister from his car and fled with the car out of town. The wife of one of the five was arrested and jailed.

The next day officers trapped two escapees in a cabin in a mountain area near Muskogee. Both opened fire. The officers returned fire killing one and wounded the other. The one killed was the woman's husband and Chief Bolton's killer. A day later officers cornered the other three. They were forced to kill one and the other two surrendered.

The three surviving escapees were charged with murder. On December 10, 1935, two were convicted of two counts of bank robbery and sentenced to 45 years each in Leavenworth. In January of 1926 the same two were convicted of Chief Bolton's murder and sentenced to 99 years each. The escapee's wife who slipped him the pistol that started all the trouble was also charged with murder and aiding in an escape. The murder charge was later dismissed.

Chief Bolton had served with the Muskogee Police Department for 13 years, and was survived by his wife and three children.


  • Age 55
  • Tour 13 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Tuesday, December 3, 1935
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Not available

escape attempt

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Greater Cleveland Transit Police Department, Ohio

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