Police Officer Leonard A. Christiansen

Police Officer Leonard A. Christiansen

Riverside Police Department, California

End of Watch Friday, April 2, 1971

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Leonard A. Christiansen

Officer Christiansen and Officer Paul Teel were shot and killed when they were ambushed. They were responding to fake call placed by the suspects reporting a burglary at an abandoned house. The suspects laid in wait and opened fire on the officers with shotguns, killing them both.

The suspects were charged in connection with the murders but the trial ended in a hung jury.

Officer Christiansen had served with the agency for 5 years. He was survived by his wife and three children.


  • Age 30
  • Tour 5 years
  • Badge 55

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Not available

Most Recent Reflection

View all 27 Reflections

1971. What turbulent times for our profession. We were still reeling from the shock and horror that had taken place in Newhall almost a year to the night that you and Paul Teel stepped from your patrol car on Ottawa Ave to take a burglary report. In the wake of many a law enforcement officer's death, a lesson can be gleaned or a tactic developed to mitigate or reduce the chance of a repetitively fatal outcome. But your loss, and the that of Paul Teel, reminds us more of a frightening reality than a tactical legacy - the reality of vulnerability. You remind us for all the tactical tweaking we can do, for all of the "don't park in front of the house" procedures we follow, at some point we still have to cross the yard or walk up the driveway to the door. That is the "tactical" legacy you and Paul Teel left our profession. A reminder there will always be that measure of "vulnerability".

On this date of your incident anniversary I thank you Officer Leonard Christiansen for your service to the community and to our profession...and for your willingness to "walk to the door". And to your family I say, thank you for sharing Leonard with the rest of us.

NC Officer

April 2, 2021

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