Guard Philip Perry Ketchum

Guard Philip Perry Ketchum

West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, West Virginia

End of Watch Thursday, December 4, 1941

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Philip Perry Ketchum

Guard Philip Ketchum was shot and killed by an inmate along State Route 2, south of Proctor, West Virginia.

He and another guard were transporting 27 prisoners to the state penitentiary at Moundsville. Guard Ketchum, who was driving, had stopped the bus on the roadway to clear dirt from its windshield. While stopped one of the inmates, who was an escapee who was being returned to the prison, grabbed the pistol from the other guard and opened fire. Three of the shots struck the guard he grabbed the gun from and one of the shot struck Guard Ketchum in the chest, killing him.

Despite his wounds, the wounded guard and another inmate threw a chain around the subject's head and were able to subdue him. Troopers from the West Virginia State Police transported the prisoners to the penitentiary. The subject who murdered Guard Ketchum committed suicide by hanging himself in his cell 11 days later.

Guard Ketchum had served at the West Virginia State Penitentiary for only six months. His father served as warden at the facility.


  • Age 23
  • Tour 6 months
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Committed suicide

Most Recent Reflection

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Rest in peace Guard Ketchum. Young, honorable and heroic!

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

November 22, 2021

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