Special Agent Roy Dale Zearfoss

Special Agent Roy Dale Zearfoss

Illinois Central Railroad Police Department, Railroad Police

End of Watch Friday, July 17, 1936

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Roy Dale Zearfoss

Special Agent Roy Zearfoss was shot and killed when he and another agent was critically wounded when investigating trespassers at a rail yard roundhouse near U.S. 51, about one mile north of Carbondale, Illinois.

At approximately 2:00 pm, both agents came upon two suspected hobos in the rail yard. While questioning them, one suspect produced a .45-caliber automatic handgun from a satchel and shot both agents, striking Agent Zearfoss twice in the abdomen. The other agent was able to return fire, missing both suspects, who then took Agent Zearfoss' service weapon which had fallen to the ground. The suspects, after being joined by an accomplice nearby, commandeered a vehicle on the highway and fled. Agent Zearfoss was taken to a hospital and died three hours later, while the other agent recovered from his wounds.

All three suspects were captured early the following morning in West Frankfort, Illinois, by authorities who killed one suspect who was the killer. Both of the other suspects, ages 42 and 20 were wounded and charged with murder. It was later determined all three suspects were ex-convicts who were planning a bank robbery in Dongola, Illinois, when approached by the agents. The 42-year-old was sentenced to life for accessory to murder. He was paroled on February 24, 1950.

Agent Zearfoss had served with the Illinois Central Railroad Police Department for 20 years. He was survived by his wife, 7-year-old daughter, brother and sister.


  • Age 44
  • Tour 20 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Illinois
  • Weapon Handgun; .45 caliber
  • Offender One shot and killed

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Thank you for your service and please know that your sacrifice will always be remembered by your LE brethren. Rest in peace always.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

July 17, 2020

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