Patrolman John H. Combs

Patrolman John H. Combs

Parma Police Department, Idaho

End of Watch Monday, September 22, 1969

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John H. Combs

Patrolman John Combs was shot and killed when he stopped to investigate three men in a vehicle parked on the side of the highway two miles east of Parma. The three men inside were wanted for an earlier armed robbery. Patrolman Combs was struck by a shotgun blast as he approached the vehicle. The suspects then shot and wounded a civilian riding with him before stealing his patrol car. Two suspects were arrested a short time later after they overturned the patrol car following a high speed pursuit. The third suspect was apprehended the next day.

All three suspects were charged with Patrolman Combs' murder. One died in jail while awaiting trial on February 17, 1970. The other two were convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to life in prison on April 6, 1970. One was paroled May 1, 1980, and the other suspect was paroled February 21, 1984.

Patrolman Combs, who served in the US Air Force, had been with the agency for 2 years and was survived by his wife and two children.


  • Age 25
  • Tour 2 years
  • Badge 401
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Paroled in 1980 and 1984

traffic stop

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Posted on NAMPA, Idaho (CBS2) Sept. 22, 2019

Parma Police officer John Combs was killed in the line of duty 50 years ago.

September 22nd, 1969, Parma police say patrolman Combs stopped to investigate three men in a vehicle parked on the side of the highway, two mile east of Parma.

The men were wanted for an earlier armed robbery. When Combs approached the vehicle, he was shot and killed.

At 25 years old and only two years in the agency, patrolman Combs left behind a wife and two children.

Though 50 years have passed, his older brother Eddie Combs still gets choked up about it.

“You gotta live with it. Someday we’ll be together. I know that," Combs said.

But he remains proud of his brother and the legacy he leaves behind. Memorials, with his named engraved, remind Combs of the hard worker his brother was.

Before the shooting. Combs says he was asked a life changing question.

“John had asked us previous if we would raise the boy. His boy johnny and so I said absolutely. In a heartbeat,” Combs said.

Eddie says his son became one of their own. Though at times, it wasn't easy.

“He had awful dreams and nightmares so he cried through the night. So my wife, she was always there to sooth him and help him but he was four years old. It was really a hassle for the first few years,” Combs said.

But his presence will never be forgotten. Canyon County Sheriff's Office, Parma Police Station, Idaho Peace Officers Memorial and the Old Fort Boise Memorial in Parma, all pay tribute to fallen officer Combs.

“It makes me feel so proud I can’t hardly stand it. It’s an honor for all police officers,” Combs said.

Embracing the memory and honor of Combs fallen brother.

“You have to believe that we will be together someday. I do believe that but what’s done is done. You can’t do anything about it. It’s called history,” Combs said.

Retired Police Officer

September 8, 2019

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