Chief of Police Martin G. Johnson

Chief of Police Martin G. Johnson

Ray Police Department, North Dakota

End of Watch Saturday, September 6, 1930

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Martin G. Johnson

Chief Johnson succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained two days earlier when he was shot in the chest by a group of men he had just given directions to. The chief had observed the men acting suspiciously a few nights earlier and when he observed them again in a car at 0215 hours he approached them. The men asked for directions to a hotel and Chief Johnson told them where a hotel was. As the chief turned around one of the suspects struck him over the head with a gun and then another one of the men shot him in the chest.

The shot paralyzed Chief Johnson from the waist down. He was transported to a local hospital where he died two days later. One suspect was later identified by officers.

On September 22, 1930, two of the suspects robbed a bank in Genoa, Nebraska. They were apprehended six days later in Reno, Nevada, after they committed a small robbery there. The next day it was discovered they were wanted for the murder of Chief Johnson. It was also discovered one of the suspects was wanted in Iowa for violating his parole after he was paroled from Fort Madison Penitentiary in April of 1930. He had served time for a burglary conviction. Both suspects were convicted of robbing the Genoa bank and sentenced to 40 years. On November 2, 1944, both suspects escaped from the Nebraska penitentiary. They were apprehended in Oakland, Iowa, two weeks later. On January 13, 1945, they escaped from the jail in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The pair went of a extensive crime spree in several states committing thefts, robberies, and stealing three cars until they were apprehended by FBI agents in New, Hampshire on March 4, 1945. A month later they were sentenced in Boston, Massachusetts, Federal Court to 19 years in federal prison for several crimes. They were transferred to the federal prison in Atlanta and later were sent to Alcatraz. They were still charged with several crimes in several states too numerous to mention. In 1961 one of the suspects was returned to Nebraska to finish his sentence there. It was soon discovered that on his earlier crime spree he had killed a jail guard in the Boston, Massachusetts, Jail before escaping. He was returned to Boston to face the charges but escaped days later. On May 11, 1961, he shot and killed himself as officers closed in on him. The other suspect attempted to escape from Alcatraz in 1945 by sneaking aboard a boat leaving the island. A prison count showed one missing. A boat count showed one extra. He was discovered and returned to Alcatraz. He was eventually released and died in California in 1979.


  • Age 52
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Thursday, September 4, 1930
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Not available

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Rest in peace Chief of Police Johnson.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

February 6, 2022

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