Inspector John R. Johnston

Inspector John R. Johnston

Oakland Police Department, California

End of Watch Thursday, June 27, 1946

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John R. Johnston

Inspector John Johnston was shot and killed while investigating possible burglary activity in the 400 block of Merritt Avenue shortly before 9:00 pm.

Several officers were patrolling the area due to recent burglaries. He observed two suspicious men and called them over to his unmarked car. While talking to the two, one shot Inspector Johnson several times while Inspector Johnson was still seated behind the wheel of his car. No one knew of the shooting until an off-duty police officer stopped to investigate Inspector Johnston's vehicle, which was still parked in the middle of the street. The killer and his accomplice were apprehended and charged with murder and eight counts of burglary.

On October 17th, 1946, both were convicted of eight counts of burglary and sentenced to 36 years in prison. The man who shot Inspector Johnston was found to be insane and committed to a state mental hospital. On April 26th, 1948, he was found to be sane and returned to Oakland to stand trial for murder. On May 7th, 1948, he was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to 41 years in prison. He was denied parole in 1960.

Inspector Johnston had served with the Oakland Police Department for 18 years. He was survived by his wife and two children.


  • Age 47
  • Tour 18 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .45 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to 41 years

suspicious person, burglary

Most Recent Reflection

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Inspector Johnston,
On today, the 75th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Oakland. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

R. I.P.

United States Border Patrol

June 27, 2021

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