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 Chicano Liberation Front claimed credit for the assassination. Four men were arrested in 1981 and charged with Chief Cann's murder. On March 20, 1984, one, now 36, said to be the triggerman, was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 5 years to life. On January 7, 1991, he was released and returned to the New Mexico Penitentiary to complete a term he was serving when he was transferred to California for Chief Cann's murder. Two weeks later he was found dead in his prison cell from a drug overdose.

The Chicano Liberation Front was a little know organization that worked to resolve Mexican-American issues in the early 70s. Their attacks on law enforcement led to their quick demise.

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. Chief 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 Committed suicide in prison

sniper, ambush

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August 29, 2022

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