Captain Robert C. Cowdin

Captain Robert C. Cowdin

Ottawa Police Department, Kansas

End of Watch Sunday, July 7, 1963

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Robert C. Cowdin

Captain Bob Cowdin suffered a fatal heart attack while assisting the Garnett Police Department with crowd control after a large riot broke out during the Garnett Grand Prix.

A crowd of over 2,000 people began to riot in Garnett and assistance was requested from surrounding agencies. Captain Cowdin responded to Garnett with a tear gas kit. He collapsed on the south side of Courthouse Square while firing tear gas into the crowd as the mob attempted to storm the county jail.

He was taken to the Anderson County Hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly before 1:00 am.

Captain Cowdin was a U.S. Navy veteran of WWII and the recipient of a Purple Heart. He had served with the Ottawa Police Department for 10 years. He was survived by his wife, son, two daughters, mother, grandmother, seven brothers, and four sisters.


  • Age 42
  • Tour 10 years
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Heart attack
  • Weapon Person
  • Offender Not available

civil unrest

Most Recent Reflection

View all 9 Reflections

Capt. Cowdin,
On today, the 60th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice-not just as a Law Enforcement Officer but for our Country as well when you served with the U.S. Navy during World War II and was wounded in action as well. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Fair Winds And Following Seas

United States Border Patrol

July 7, 2023

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