Investigator John Ruskin Foster

Investigator John Ruskin Foster

United States Department of the Treasury - Internal Revenue Service - Alcohol Tax Unit, U.S. Government

End of Watch Thursday, May 14, 1936

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John Ruskin Foster

Investigator John Foster was shot and killed as he and another agent were chasing a vehicle near St. John, Indiana.

While parked near a filling station, on U.S. 30 in Dyer at about 1:00 am, the agents saw a vehicle with two suspected bootleggers and gave chase. As they turned south on U.S. 41, their speeds reached over 75 mph until the vehicle turned eastbound onto a dirt road, heading toward Crown Point. When the vehicle rounded a curve, one of the suspects opened fire with four shots from a high-powered rifle. Investigator Foster was struck twice in the leg and once in the heart, killing him instantly.

The suspects were able to flee the scene, but the driver was captured by police in Chicago Heights, Illinois, three hours later. During questioning, he confessed they were carrying 200 gallons of untaxed alcohol from Chicago to Indianapolis and implicated the other suspect as the shooter. That suspect was captured on May 27 in a rooming house in Indianapolis. Both suspects pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and on June 26, 1936, were sentenced to life in a federal penitentiary.

Investigator Foster had served with the Alcohol Tax Unit for over one year. He was survived by his wife of one year and his father.


  • Age 35
  • Tour 1 year
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Indiana
  • Weapon Rifle
  • Offender Sentenced to life

Most Recent Reflection

View all 3 Reflections

Time may have passed but you are not forgotten. I believe as long as someone remembers you or speaks your name, you are still with us.
Thank you for your heroism.
God Bless

Detention Officer A.Zambito

May 14, 2015

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