Chief of Detectives Jessie Laster

Chief of Detectives Jessie Laster

Joplin Police Department, Missouri

End of Watch Monday, August 23, 1926

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Jessie Laster

Chief of Detective Jessie Laster was shot and killed by a bootlegger seven miles northwest of Joplin at about 9:30 pm.

He was taking a car ride with his wife, young son, aunt, and uncle. They had driven to the Spring River, just over the line in Kansas, and turned around after crossing the bridge. As they started back across the bridge a man stepped from the bushes and ordered them to stop. The man claimed to be an officer and that he was looking for a bootlegger.

Chief Laster identified himself as chief of detectives and started to step from his car when the man shot him in the head, killing him. His wife drove him to a hospital in Joplin where he was pronounced dead.

On May 13, 1927, a Missouri prison inmate confessed to murdering Detective Laster and named a fellow inmate as an accomplice. Both were serving terms for burglary and larceny they committed three months earlier in Miami. Both were immediately paroled, turned over to Kansas authorities, and charged with murder. Three days later both pleaded guilty to murder in Columbus, Kansas, and sentenced to life.

Chief Laster was survived by his wife, two sons, and two daughters.


  • Age 44
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Kansas
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Sentenced to life


Most Recent Reflection

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Rest in peace always knowing that your service and sacrifice will never, ever be forgotten by your law enforcement brethren.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

August 23, 2020

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