Special Agent Bernard J. Kelly

Special Agent Bernard J. Kelly

Missouri Pacific Railroad Police Department, Railroad Police

End of Watch Friday, March 11, 1932

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Bernard J. Kelly

Special Agent Bernard Kelly was shot and killed near Salem, Nebraska, while attempting to stop a suspect's vehicle.

Agent Kelly, along with two other officers, observed a vehicle pulling out of a dead end where telephone wire had been reported stolen. As the officers pulled up alongside the suspect's car an occupant opened fire striking Agent Kelly and seriously wounded another officer.

The suspect, 35, plead guilty to second degree murder, to avoid receiving the death penalty, and was sentenced to 30 years. On December 15, 1944, his sentence was commuted to 19 years, and was told with good behavior, he would be released at the end of 1945.

Special Agent Kelly had served with the agency for 25 years. He was survived by his wife and two children.


  • Age 56
  • Tour 25 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Nebraska
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Sentenced to 30 years


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A Colt, M-1911, .45 cal pistol, SN: 52893 was identified as the murder weapon. It is currently on display at the J.M. Davis Gun Museum, Claremore, OK. The suspect Ambrose Aloysius Piersch was sentenced to 30 years Nebraska State Penitentiary, for 2nd Degree Murder.

Those opposing a request for commuted sentence and parole by Piersch on 13 Dec 1944, were Mrs. B.J. Kelly, widow, Oscar Perterson, Spl Agent, MP RR (also wounded by Piersch), J. Falloon, Former Prosecuting Attorney, Sheriff Irvin Gates, Police Chief Chief Judd Ankrom, and Co. Atty John Wiltse.

Russ Bryan Sr. Manager (Ret)
BNSF Railway Police

October 11, 2018

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