Deputy Sheriff Meyer Van Lewen

Deputy Sheriff Meyer Van Lewen

Allegheny County Sheriff's Office, Pennsylvania

End of Watch Saturday, July 19, 1924

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Meyer Van Lewen

Deputy Sheriff Meyer Van Lewen was shot and killed aboard a passenger train near Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, as he and another deputy escorted two prisoners to the Fairview State Hospital.

One of the inmates asked to use the bathroom so his handcuffs were loosened. The prisoner then grabbed red pepper and threw it in Deputy Van Lewen's eyes, temporarily blinding him. The other prisoner was able to disarm Deputy Van Lewen and shot him in the abdomen before escaping. He was arrested several miles away.

The shooter was found criminally insane and committed at the state mental hospital in Fairview. On June 13, 1925, the other prisoner, 22, was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 20 years. He had recently been determined sane and released from the Liberty State Mental Hospital. He was placed in solitary confinement from 1931 to 1936 for his participation in the notorious "steam bath riot". He was paroled in April of 1943. In August of 1943 he was arrested for robbing a tavern in East Liberty.

Deputy Van Lewen was a U.S. Army veteran of the Spanish-American War. He had served in law enforcement for almost 18 years.


  • Age 43
  • Tour 17 years, 7 months
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Friday, July 18, 1924
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Sentenced to 20 years

escape attempt, transport

Most Recent Reflection

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Deputy Sheriff Van Lewin,
On today, the 92nd anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice-not just for your Community but for our Country as well when you served in the U.S. Army during the Spanish-American War.


United States Border Patrol

July 19, 2016

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