Sergeant Willard N. Carver

Sergeant Willard N. Carver

Johnson County Sheriff's Office, Kansas

End of Watch Monday, June 23, 1952

Willard N. Carver

Sergeant Willard Carver was shot and killed when he and another officer attempted to arrest two men for auto theft on a gravel road west of Zarah.

They found a stolen car stuck in a ditch and hid nearby to wait for the suspects to return. When the men arrived with a stolen truck to pull the car out the deputies confronted them and ordered them to put their hands up. The men opened fire and Sergeant Carver was shot through the heart. As the other officer returned fire the suspects ran into a nearby woods.

One of the suspects was captured a short time later. The other suspect was captured in St. Louis, Missouri, on August 30th, 1952. Both men were ex-convicts and were convicted of first degree murder. One was sentenced to life in prison on December 2nd, 1952, and the other was hanged on July 16th, 1954.

Sergeant Carver was a U.S. Navy veteran and recipient of both the Purple Heart and Presidential Citation for action during the invasion of Normandy Beach. He had served with the Johnson County Sheriff's Office for four years.


  • Age 31
  • Tour 4 years
  • Badge 929
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender One executed; One sentenced to life

stolen vehicle

Most Recent Reflection

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Willard N. Carver was running for the office of sheriff. I remember him so well. He had come into the newspaper office to have some campaign materials printed, and I had talked to him just hours before he was shot. He would have been a good sheriff.

Peg Nichols, no rank, just a civilian

December 16, 2015

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