Police Officer Charles P. Gillin

Police Officer Charles P. Gillin

Cedar Rapids Police Department, Iowa

End of Watch Saturday, January 4, 1913

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Charles P. Gillin

Police Officer Charles Gillin was accidentally shot and killed by another officer when he and several officers responded to a prisoner riot at the Linn County Jail in Marion, Iowa.

One of Iowa's most notorious criminals, Harvey Lee, who was in jail for blowing a bank safe, threw a bottle of nitroglycerin against the wall in his cell blowing out part of the wall. As the officers entered the jail one officer opened fire with an automatic rifle striking Officer Gillin and another officer as Lee threw what he thought was another bottle of nitroglycerin at the officers. Luckily, he picked up the wrong bottle.

It was later discovered that one of Lee's gang members had smuggled three bottles of nitroglycerin to him. Lee was convicted of numerous crimes and sentenced to 35 years in prison. On June 11th, 1913, he escaped. In 1914 he was located in California at San Quentin Prison where he was serving a three year sentence for burglary under an assumed name. In 1917, as Lee was being returned to Iowa, he escaped again by jumping from the train. Several days later he was recaptured and returned to prison in Iowa.

Officer Gillin had served with the Cedar Rapids Police Department for two years. He was survived by his wife and two sons.


  • Age 36
  • Tour 2 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire (Inadvertent)

crossfire, escape attempt

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Rest in peace Officer Gillin.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

August 21, 2021

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