Custody Officer John H. Grimm

Custody Officer John H. Grimm

Indiana Department of Correction, Indiana

End of Watch Sunday, May 8, 1921

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John H. Grimm

Custody Officer John Grimm was beaten to death by inmates during an attempted escape from the Indiana Reformatory in Clarksville.

Upon entering the prison bakery at 10:00 pm, Custody Officer Grimm was beaten with a hammer by six inmates who had plotted to escape from the prison that evening. The inmates then took Custody Officer Grimm's revolver and shot him once through his mouth. As the inmates made their way out of the prison, they seized the weapon of another guard after he was bound and gagged. It was later determined that Custody Officer Grimm died from 11 distinct fractures to his skull and not from the gunshot wound.

All six of the inmates, ages 17 to 23, two of whom were shot and wounded, were captured on the grounds of the prison and charged with murder. One of the injured inmates later died from his wounds. Two were convicted of murder and sentenced to life. In 1942 the sentence of one of the two was commuted to 21 years making him eligible for parole.

Custody Officer Grimm had served with the Indiana Department of Correction for 18 years. He was survived by his wife, two sons, two daughters, two brothers, sister and mother.


  • Age 59
  • Tour 18 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Assault
  • Weapon Blunt object; Hammer
  • Offender Charged with murder

Most Recent Reflection

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Officer Grimm,
On today, the 100th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of the state of Indiana. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy. There is no tougher job in Law Enforcement than that of a Corrections Officer.


United States Border Patrol

May 8, 2021

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