Deputy Sheriff John M. Cleary

Deputy Sheriff John M. Cleary

Vigo County Sheriff's Office, Indiana

End of Watch Saturday, April 9, 1892

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John M. Cleary

Deputy John Cleary succumbed to a gunshot wound suffered 15 years earlier when he was shot by a burglary suspect.

Deputy Cleary had apprehended the man at his home and had arranged for the man to return the stolen money to the grocery store that was burglarized. When he let the man go into his home to get the money the man also slipped a revolver into his pocket. As the two men neared 5th and Ohio streets the suspect opened fire, striking Deputy Cleary in the chest and abdomen. Deputy Cleary was taken home but doctors were unable to remove the bullet.

Deputy Cleary made a slow recovery and returned to duty. The following May, Deputy Cleary and other officers located the original shooting suspect in a home at 5th and Eagle streets. As Deputy Cleary attempted a second arrest the man shot him in the leg and head. Deputy Cleary was able to take the suspect into custody. Deputy Cleary's health continued to deteriorate until his death in on April 9, 1892.

Deputy Cleary had served with the Vigo County Sheriff's Department for 23 years. He was survived by his wife and son.


  • Age 48
  • Tour 23 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Friday, June 8, 1877
  • Weapon Handgun; Revolver
  • Offender Apprehended

Most Recent Reflection

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As a retired police officer I consider it an honor to have served among the ranks of brave officers such as Deputy Cleary who gave his life protecting his community so many years ago. Time does not diminish the courage shown by Deputy Cleary or the sacrifice that he made. May Deputy Cleary always be remembered for his bravery and for his dedication as he gave his life in service to his fellow men. Today my nine year old grandson visited Washington D.C. for the first time and had the opportunity to honor the men and women who had died in the line of duty. He wants to be a policemen like his father and his grandfather before him. I pray that his name never appears on this monument.

Police Chief Donald Draper (ret)
Medina Police Dept.

February 20, 2022

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