Night Watchman Samuel S. Leffler

Night Watchman Samuel S. Leffler

Southern Pacific Railroad Police Department, Railroad Police

End of Watch Sunday, November 29, 1891

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Samuel S. Leffler

Night Watchman Samuel Leffler was shot and killed while attempting to arrest two trespassers in the Southern Pacific Railroad yards along San Fernando Road in Los Angeles, California (the modern-day location is the Los Angeles State Historic Park).

He had ejected both men from the yards the previous night but located them sleeping in a boxcar at about 6:00 am. A struggle ensued as he attempted to arrest them during which he was disarmed and shot with his own service weapon.

Two men were arrested a short time later and charged with his murder. Both were acquitted at trial after claiming self-defense.

Night Watchman Leffler had served with the Southern Pacific Railroad Police Department for one year. He was survived by his wife and four children.


  • Age 38
  • Tour 1 year
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location California
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Acquitted

trespasser, arrest

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“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
Matthew 5:9

Chris Di Gerolamo
Federal Air Marshal Service (Retired)

October 29, 2023

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