Special Officer Middleton Pierce Harwell

Special Officer Middleton Pierce Harwell

Western and Atlantic Railroad Police, Railroad Police

End of Watch Saturday, March 25, 1905

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Middleton Pierce Harwell

Special Officer Middleton Harwell was shot and killed when he surprised two men attempting to break into a railroad freight car under the Forsyth Street Viaduct in the Western and Atlantic Railroad yards. He was moving between two railroad cards when he was shot twice in the back of the head and killed. Nearby railroad workers heard the shots and discovered his body, still clutching his revolver.

A month later two men sold a large amount of tobacco to a local store owner. Police and a railroad detective discovered the same amount of tobacco had been stolen from a freight car the previous night. The two were arrested and jailed. Two months later one of the men told jail officials his partner shot and killed Officer Harwell as they were breaking into the freight car. His partner admitted that he fired the fatal shot. On October 25, 1905, both were convicted of murder and sentenced to life. On August 4, 1906, one, 32, was shot and killed by a guard when he tried to escape. The other subject, 26, died in prison on January 29, 1907.

Officer Harwell had served with the Western and Atlantic Railroad Police for at least 15 years. He was survived by his wife and three children.


  • Age 53
  • Tour 15 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Georgia
  • Weapon Handgun; .41 caliber
  • Offender Died in prison


Most Recent Reflection

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Those that came after you had so much to be proud of, and yet how tragic that your sacrifice was foremost. I have no doubts that your life showed many reasons to be proud.

God Bless you, Officer Harwell, and may your eternal rest be and forever remain, peaceful.

Ptl. Jim Leahy, Jr.
Harvard University Police Dept.

August 29, 2017

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