Patrolman John H. Combs

Patrolman John H. Combs

Parma Police Department, Idaho

End of Watch Monday, September 22, 1969

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

Most Recent Reflection

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I wish I would have known my father, so many people say that he was a wonderful man and always wanted to help others. I wish I knew the little things, like his humor or the music he liked or even his favorite color. I was 4 months old when he died and although I have made effort, to no avail, the Combs family has had extremely little involvement in my life, by their choice. My mother says that I act like my father a lot and that I am driven like he was and I feel like I have passed that on to his beautiful 3 grandchildren. So I know that even though he has been physically gone since I was 4 months old, he has been there with me and my children always.

Andrea Combs Burtenshaw Gentry, daughter

May 7, 2013

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