Sergeant John William Bonnell, III

Sergeant John William Bonnell, III

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office, Louisiana

End of Watch Tuesday, July 10, 1979

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John William Bonnell, III

Sergeant Bonnell was shot and killed during an undercover drug buy.

Sergeant Bonnell was working with a confidential informant and he picked up the suspect in order to purchase narcotics during operation checkerboard. The suspect advised they would have to go to New Orleans, (approximately 30 miles) in order to get the narcotics. The last thing the back up units heard Sergeant Bonnell say on his wire was "do we have enough gas to get to New Orleans?". Back up units at this time lost contact with Sergeant Bonnell. Some time later the confidential informant called the New Orleans Police to report a shooting.

As Sergeant Bonnell sat in the front seat with another suspect driving and the suspect in the rear passenger seat with the confidential informant, they arrived at a housing project in New Orleans East. The suspect exited the vehicle and without provocation shot Sergeant Bonnell in the back of the head killing him instantly, suspect also shot the confidential informant, only wounding him, but he feigned death. Suspects then fled but were apprehended by New Orleans Police a short time later. Suspect is currently serving life without benefits at Angola state prison.

Sergeant Bonnell was survived by his wife and child.


  • Age 23
  • Tour 5 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Sentenced to Life Imprisonment

Most Recent Reflection

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John was my first partner June 1978 . Till this day, I remember that phone call in the early morning of his death. Still have not good dreams of that night. Still stop by to give him my prayers.

Tony bologna
Deputy st Tammany so, June 1978

September 16, 2021

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