Chief of Police William M. Cann

Chief of Police William M. Cann

Union City Police Department, California

End of Watch Thursday, August 29, 1974

William M. Cann

Chief Cann succumbed to gunshot wounds received almost three months earlier when he was shot during a community meeting to discuss the relations between the police department and the Hispanic community.

Five shots were fired from a a .30 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 when he was injured. He had previously served with the San Anselmo, Novato, and San Bruno Police Departments.


  • 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 second degree murder

Most Recent Reflection

View all 15 Reflections

I was a citizen present at the meeting where Chief Cann was shot and three other people were injured, including one next to me. It was one of the most terrifying events of my life, so I followed news reports closely in the months ahead. It is my recall that, shortly after the shooting, a group called the Chicano Liberation Front claimed responsibility for the events of that evening. Whether there was ever a proven connection to the suspect who was eventually charged and convicted of the killing, I don't know. But I was also following the very open claims of the Symbionese Liberation Army around that period of time. And, to my knowledge,, there was never any claim or suggestion of their involvement in this tragic event.

Susan Starkey
Attended meeting where this occurred

May 4, 2016

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.