Chief of Police William M. Cann

Chief of Police William M. Cann

Union City Police Department, California

End of Watch Thursday, August 29, 1974

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William M. Cann

Chief of Police William Cann succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained on June 11th, 1974, when he was shot during a community meeting to discuss the relations between the police department and the Hispanic community.

The meeting was being held in Our Lady of the Rosary Church at 703 C Street. Five shots were fired from a .30-caliber rifle through a window from approximately 60 feet away. Chief Cann was hit twice in the neck, and three civilians were shot. The three civilians survived.

The suspect, a former member of a militant group, was convicted of second-degree murder.

Chief Cann had served as the Chief of the Union City Police Department for 15 months. He had previously served 11 years in law enforcement with the San Anselmo Police Department, Novato Police Department, and San Bruno Police Department. Cheif Cann was survived by his wife, mother, two sons, and one daughter.


  • Age 32
  • Tour 11 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Tuesday, June 11, 1974
  • Weapon Rifle; .30 caliber
  • Offender Convicted of murder

ambush, sniper

Most Recent Reflection

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I was a cadet, 1973-1975,
The night Chief Cann was shot I was hanging out at the station. A call came in saying people had been shot at the church, possibly including the Chief.
We had a red phone called SNARE that connected the five bordering municipalities together for coordination during chaos. I made the call requesting help, ran to the back of the station, opened our arms locker, grapping rifles and Vietnam era body armor, meeting patrol cars and loading them as they sped in from other beats.
I spent several hours of the station roof with a rifle until someone realized having an 18year old cadet providing perimeter security was probably not the best place for me.

Cadet, Thomas Hastings
Union City Police Department

May 28, 2022

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