Special Agent Thomas P. Griffin

Special Agent Thomas P. Griffin

Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Police Department, Railroad Police

End of Watch Thursday, November 15, 1923

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Thomas P. Griffin

Special Agent Thomas Griffin was shot and killed while patrolling the Rock Island rail yard's in the area of SW 14th Street and Vine Street in Des Moines, Iowa, at approximately 8:00 pm.

He and another railroad detective were checking an area of tracks where frequent thefts occurred as trains staged outside of the switching yards. Agent Griffin observed two men stealing items from a boxcar and ordered them to halt. The men opened fire him, shooting with a .32 caliber handgun.

Both men were arrested, convicted of his murder, and sentenced to life in prison.

In December 1924 a subject was killed during a shootout with police in Mobile, Alabama, while fleeing New Orleans where he had murdered Patrolman Jacob Uhle during a bank robbery. The man had a hand written note confessing to Special Agent Griffin's murder in his possession, but an investigation was unable to determine if the man was ever in Des Moines and the convictions of both original subjects were upheld by the Supreme Court.

Special Agent Griffin had served with the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad Police for several years. He was survived by his teenage daughter, sister, and three brothers. One of his brothers had previously served as the sheriff of Polk County, a second was also a special agent with the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad, and the third was a captain in the Des Moines Fire Department.


  • Age 47
  • Tour 3 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Iowa
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Sentenced to life

Most Recent Reflection

View all 4 Reflections

Agent Griffin,
Sir, it has taken almost 93 years but you are finally being honored. I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice as a Law Enforcement Officer.


United States Border Patrol

July 20, 2016

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