Police Officer Elbert R. Claar

Police Officer Elbert R. Claar

Pullman Police Department, Washington

End of Watch Sunday, April 17, 1949

Add to My Heroes

Elbert R. Claar

Police Officer Elbert Claar, Deputy Gilbert Gallagher, and Sheriff Levi Parnell of the Whitman County Sheriff's Department were shot by a suspect after the man fought with another man.

Officer Claar had spotted the man at a filling station and attempted to arrest him. As Officer Claar returned to his car to retrieve his nightstick the man opened fire with a .22 caliber handgun, striking Officer Claar five times.

The suspect then drove to his house and grabbed a rifle with a scope before heading to a nearby hill. Deputy Gallagher responded to the residence and exited his cruiser. As he looked toward the house, the suspect shot him in the back and fired at another deputy who was able to get cover. The suspect then moved to another part of the hill near a college campus, where he shot and killed a civilian who was looking for him.

Sheriff Parnell and another deputy also responded to the scene, and as Sheriff Parnell exited his cruiser, he was shot once in the chest by the suspect. The suspect was finally surrounded and hiding in bushes by a group of officers and citizens who opened fire, fatally wounding him.

Officer Claar had served with the Pullman Police Department for seven years. He was survived by his wife, daughter, and son.


  • Age 56
  • Tour 7 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .22 caliber
  • Offender Shot and killed

active shooter, arrest attempt, murder suspect

Most Recent Reflection

View all 5 Reflections

After 75 years, the murder of Police Officer Elbert R. Claar should still be always remembered. As reported nationally, including Chicago, he was killed while attempting to take a mass shooter into custody. In so doing, Officer Claar very likely saved many lives in Pullman, Washington. Mass shooting incidents are by no means a recent phenomenon, and not only in our country. All the incidents have this in common---a dedicated man or woman in Blue responds to the scene to uphold the oath to serve and protect the public, sometimes at the cost of their own life. Rest easy, my brother in Blue, you are not forgotten.

David L Milligan
Chicago Police Department (ret.)

April 18, 2024

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

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