Village Marshal Harold T. Swanson

Village Marshal Harold T. Swanson

Altona Police Department, Illinois

End of Watch Saturday, January 23, 1965

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Harold T. Swanson

Marshal Harold Swanson was shot and mortally wounded while investigating a suspicious man he spotted standing near the Altona Lumber Company close to midnight. Marshal Swanson was unaware the man had just burglarized the lumber company.

The subject, an ex-convict, opened fire with a pistol striking the marshal in the shoulder and abdomen as he approached him. Marshal Swanson returned fire hitting the suspect in the leg. Despite his wounds, Marshal Swanson marched his prisoner two blocks to a telephone where he called for assistance. He kept his prisoner covered until a Knox County deputy arrived and then he collapsed. Marshal Swanson remained in the hospital in serious condition until succumbing to his wounds five months later. The suspect was charged with murder and burglary.

The 32-year-old suspect was convicted of burglary and sentenced to 8 to 12 years. The murder charge was dismissed because a coroners jury said he died of pneumonia and they could not say for sure if the gunshot wounds caused it.

Marshal Swanson had served with the Altona Police Department for 12 years. He was survived by his wife, two children and three grandchildren.


  • Age 53
  • Tour 12 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Saturday, August 29, 1964
  • Weapon Handgun; Pistol
  • Offender Apprehended

suspicious person

Most Recent Reflection

View all 12 Reflections

Harold was my first cousins Nancy and Cindy Swanson's grandfather. I remember even as a child how devastated his son, my Uncle Hughie was over the senseless death of his father. What this story left out was how he was able to stand while awaiting for backup. He knew he was going to collapse so he looped his belt through the handle of a near by car door. He was determined to bring this monster to justice. What a travesty that this horrible man got off with basically a slap on the wrist while this amazing man perished. He would have been so proud of my cousins and the beautiful women they are.

Gloria Shory

April 29, 2022

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