Special Agent Oliver Columbus Grems

Special Agent Oliver Columbus Grems

Southern Pacific Railroad Police Department, Railroad Police

End of Watch Saturday, April 23, 1955

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Oliver Columbus Grems

Special Agent Oliver Grems was shot and killed in Oakland, California, by two Oakland police officers in a case of mistaken identity.

He was sitting in his vehicle on Southern Pacific Railroad property on Bay Street Circle, near 7th Street, when the two plainclothes officers saw him and approached him to investigate why he was there. Not knowing the two were officers, and believing he was about to be robbed, Special Agent Grems drew his revolver. Not realizing he was an officer too, the two Oakland officers opened fire on him.

Agent Grems was fatally wounded in the exchange of gunfire.

Special Agent Grems was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of WWII and had previously served with the Denver, Colorado, Police Department for six years. He was survived by his wife, two children, and two stepchildren.


  • Age 33
  • Tour 6 years
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire (Inadvertent)
  • Location California

mistaken identity

Most Recent Reflection

View all 2 Reflections

Special Agent Grems, it's now been 66 years since the tragic incident that took your life. My Dad spent 5 years on the New York Central Police (about 10 years total with the NYCRR) and had a similar story. In his case, he was in an unmarked patrol car and had put a jacket on over his uniform in order to catch a quick nap. He was awoken to a gun stuck in his ear by a local city cop. Thank God it didn't end the way your incident did, but it goes to show what can happen and it gives me chills to read the account of your passing.

Thank you for helping to protect one of America's greatest assets, it's railroads. God Bless you, Brother and may your eternal rest be ever peaceful.

Ptl. Jim Leahy, Jr.
Harvard University Police Department

April 23, 2021

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