Correctional Officer Henry M. Kenaga

Correctional Officer Henry M. Kenaga

Kansas Department of Corrections, Kansas

End of Watch Sunday, June 20, 1954

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Henry M. Kenaga

Officer Henry Kenaga was shot and killed while attempting to prevent a prison escape.

Several inmates had stormed the visitor's room with guns and knives and taken six hostages. As they attempted to cross the prison yard, they were confronted by Officer Kenaga. As Officer Kenaga attempted to stop them, he was shot. The suspects were stopped by other officers and were returned to their cells. Six inmates, 22, 24, 24, 24, 27, and 34, were charged with first-degree murder. The oldest was identified as Officer Kenaga's killer.

The guns the inmates used were .22 caliber pistols that they made themselves. A girlfriend of one of the inmates smuggled him the bullets. Five inmates were convicted of first-degree murder and got a life term added to their sentences. On May 30, 1968, one of those inmates, the youngest, was burned to death when two inmates set him on fire after dousing him with a flammable liquid.

Officer Kenaga was a United States World War I Army veteran and served with the Kansas Department of Corrections for 25 years. He was survived by his wife and two sons.


  • Age 58
  • Tour 25 years
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .22 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to life

prisoner custody, escape attempt

Most Recent Reflection

View all 8 Reflections

My father was foreman of the jury who tried the first inmate, William Henry Parker, who planned it. After the prosecutors opening statement, the defense rested their case ending the trial so the prosecution never got to stress that William Henry Parker planned to have the guard killed. As a result the jury didn’t hang him. My father said the happiest guy he ever saw was the guy who had just been sentenced to life in the prison where he had killed a guard. I believe I looked up his prison record and he got released 19 years later, shockingly to me.

George R Harsh
Son of the jury foreman of the ringleader’s trial.

March 9, 2023

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