Patrol Officer Lester Woodrow "Tarzan" Gwinn

Patrol Officer Lester Woodrow "Tarzan" Gwinn

Knoxville Police Department, Tennessee

End of Watch Monday, January 31, 1955

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Lester Woodrow "Tarzan" Gwinn

Officer Tarzan Gwinn was shot and killed while he and his partner investigated a domestic disturbance call involving a man and his ex-wife at 218 East Scott Avenue in Knoxville at 1:30 am.

As the officers entered the home, the male subject pulled out a handgun and shot Officer Gwinn in the chest five times. Both officers returned fire killing the subject.

Officer Gwinn was a World War II veteran who earned the Silver Star, the Oak Leaf Cluster, the Purple Heart, and marksmanship medals while serving as a sniper in the Pacific. He served with the Knoxville Police Department for six years. He is survived by his wife, son, three brothers, and a sister.

Officer Gwinn is buried in New Gray Cemetery in Knoxville, Tennessee.


  • Age 40
  • Tour 6 years
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Shot and killed


Most Recent Reflection

View all 12 Reflections

Lester Gwinn was my grand-uncle. I was born almost 3 years after his death so I never knew him except from stories told by my family. I would love to read any reminiscence from anyone who might have known him personally. I would think there are not many of those left.

Ron Gwinn

June 27, 2023

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