Police Officer Dennis McMahon

Police Officer Dennis McMahon

Virginia City Police Department, Nevada

End of Watch Sunday, April 12, 1863

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Dennis McMahon

Police Officer McMahon and Police Officer Thomas Reed were shot and killed while attempting to arrest an outlaw. The suspect shot both officers in the chest and then fled.

The suspect was arrested a short time later and was subsequently acquitted at trial. The man was later shot and killed when he attempted to shoot another man in a saloon.

The shooting of the two officers was heard by their friend, Samuel Clemens, better known as the legendary author Mark Twain. Accounts of the shootings appeared in several of Mark Twain's writings.


  • Age Not available
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Acquitted

Most Recent Reflection

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Thanks for your service to the citizens of Virginia City and the state of Nevada. You and your partner are not forgotten. On a historical note--Virginia City was the site of the one of the richest silver strikes in the nation. It flourished for decades. Virginia City was a boomtown that attracted miners and other inhabitants from all over the world. The main cemetery in Virginia City has graves of many of its inhabitants--mostly immigrants from all over Europe. The Virginia City Police Dept. no longer exists. It is now policed by the Storey County Sheriff's Office. Virginia City still has a lot of historical buildings and is still a tourist attraction, near Reno. Mark Twain lived there when he came out West and wrote for an area newspaper. His book "Roughing It" describes his travels out West and some of his experiences in Virginia City, Carson City and Lake Tahoe.

Jim Lopey, Asst. Sheriff (ret)
Washoe County Sheriff (Reno, Nv) and NVDPS

April 12, 2021

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