Patrolman Ralph Howard

Patrolman Ralph Howard

Fort Smith Police Department, Arkansas

End of Watch Friday, September 4, 1931

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Ralph Howard

Patrolman Howard and Captain William Bourland were shot and killed during a shootout of several armed robbery suspects. The officers had located three suspects who had robbed a store in Spiro, Oklahoma, earlier in the evening. They began to chase the car down Spiro Highway and chased them onto Towson Avenue where they ran it off the road near South Y Street. A shootout ensued and Captain Bourland, Patrolman Howard, and all three suspects were shot. One of the suspects died at the scene.

Captain Bourland was shot in the head, and twice in the chest. He was pronounced dead at St. Edward Hospital. Patrolman Howard was struck in neck, chest, and both hands. He succumbed to his wounds two days later. The two surviving suspects were taken into custody. Both were sentenced to life in prison but the sentence of one of the suspects was commuted and he was paroled.

Patrolman Howard had been with the agency for 20 years and was survived by his wife, son and daughter.


  • Age 53
  • Tour 20 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Wednesday, September 2, 1931
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Shot and killed

Most Recent Reflection

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Ralph Howard, you and my second Great Grandfather did a good deed while serving in the line of duty... RIP and all my love to you ❤

Tiff Boardman
Second Great Granddaughter to Captain Andrew Bourland

October 23, 2023

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