Detective Lester Dorman

Detective Lester Dorman

San Francisco Police Department, California

End of Watch Sunday, December 5, 1920

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Lester Dorman

Detective Lester Dorman, Sergeant Miles Jackson and Sheriff James Petray of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department were shot and killed as they attempted to arrest several suspects staying in a Santa Rosa home. The suspects, members of the Howard Street or Spud Murphy gang, had brutally attacked a group of girls in San Francisco and were tracked to a house on West 7th Street in Santa Rosa.

The three officers entered the house where the suspects were staying to arrest them. One suspect was sitting on a couch, another one was sitting in the corner of the same room.

As the officers began placing the suspects under arrest, the suspect sitting on the couch jumped up with a revolver and shot Detective Dorman, who later died. Sergeant Jackson, who was in another room rushed to the shots, but he too was shot and killed. Before he fell dead, Sergeant Jackson was able to shoot and wound one suspect. Sheriff Petray was also shot and killed during the incident.

The suspects were arrested later in the day and brought to the local jail. An angry group of men demanded the killers be turned over to them to be hanged. After a standoff the mob finally prevailed and the suspects were dragged from their cells and hung.

Detective Dorman had served with the San Francisco Police Department for six years. He was survived by his wife and parents. He is buried in Woodlawn Memorial Park Cemtery, Colma, San Mateo County, California.


  • Age 29
  • Tour 6 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; Revolver
  • Offender Hung by and angry mob

Most Recent Reflection

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I heard the story of this brave man from my grandpa. Lester dorman was his brother. I feel very proud to see how people still remember his service.

linda lee dorman
great uncle

November 24, 2021

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