Sergeant John Holcombe Woodson

Sergeant John Holcombe Woodson

Southern Railway Police Department, Railroad Police

End of Watch Monday, August 5, 1946

John Holcombe Woodson

Sergeant Holcombe Woodson was shot and killed at Catlett, Virginia, as he and another railroad detective approached a man to question him about freight thefts. Before the detectives even spoke to the man, he produced a .22 caliber handgun and opened fire.

One of the shots struck Sergeant Woodson in the neck, mortally wounding him. He was transported to Warrenton Hospital where he succumbed to the wound.

The suspect fled but was arrested. He was subsequently convicted of murder and executed.

Sergeant Woodson had served with the Southern Railroad Police Department for 31 years. He was survived by his wife.


  • Age 63
  • Tour 31 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Virginia
  • Weapon Handgun; .22 caliber
  • Offender Executed


Most Recent Reflection

View all 6 Reflections

It is now 72 years and your memory and sacrifice are still honored here. The execution of your murderer brings a sense of closure and the relief that he never had the chance to kill again, but it did not bring you back.

God Bless you Sgt. Woodson and thank you for your duty. May your continued rest remain Peaceful, Brother.

Ptl. Jim Leahy, Jr.
Harvard University Police Department

August 5, 2018

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