Deputy Sheriff James Oren Freeman

Deputy Sheriff James Oren Freeman

Saline County Sheriff's Department, Missouri

End of Watch Sunday, May 23, 1948

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James Oren Freeman

Deputy Sheriff James Freeman was shot and killed by a youth, 18, who was trying to break his girlfriend out of the State School for the feeble-minded in Marshall.

The youth, a former inmate at the school, had been on a robbery spree over the previous week, having robbed businesses in Kansas City, St. Louis, and Chicago. Following the robberies in St. Louis, the suspect boarded a bus to Marshall, where he intended to carry out his plan regarding his 18-year-old girlfriend.

The suspect was recognized as a former patient, and the staff noticed he had a revolver in his waistband. The staff called the sheriff's department, and Deputy Freeman responded to the scene. When he arrived at the scene, a struggle ensued over the control of the suspect's gun. Deputy Freeman was shot twice, and a dentist at the school was shot once. Despite being mortally wounded, Deputy Freeman was able to return fire and wounded the suspect. The suspect fled to Kansas City, where he was arrested.

On November 8, 1948, the suspect was convicted of murder and sentenced to life. On September 22 and 23, 1954, he was one of six inmates who set fires that damaged millions of dollars at the Missouri State Penitentiary during a prison riot. On February 24, 1955, he was convicted of arson and got 15 years added to his life sentence.

Deputy Freeman had served with the Saline County Sheriff's Department and previously served with the Marshall Police Department. He was survived by his wife.


  • Age 47
  • Tour 6 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .38 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to life

escape attempt

Most Recent Reflection

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Deputy Sheriff Freeman,
On today, the 75th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Saline County. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

May 23, 2023

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