Sheriff James R. Lauer

Sheriff James R. Lauer

Northumberland County Sheriff's Office, Pennsylvania

End of Watch Wednesday, May 27, 1959

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James R. Lauer

Sheriff Lauer was shot and killed near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as he and a deputy transported a prisoner to the Western Penitentiary. During the drive the suspect was able to grab Sheriff Lauer's .38 caliber service revolver.

The sheriff then jumped into the backseat in an attempt to regain control of his weapon and subdue the prisoner. During the struggle the suspect shot Sheriff Lauer in the abdomen. The deputy was able to stop the vehicle and attempted to aid Sheriff Lauer, but was chased away from the scene by the suspect. The suspect fled on foot but was turned himself in 12 hours later during a massive manhunt. He was being taken to Western Penitentiary to serve a 4 to 10 year sentence for armed robbery.

The suspect was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death on May 20, 1960. Three years later he was awarded a new trial and sentenced to life.

Sheriff Lauer had served with the agency for 16 years. He was survived by his grandmother.


  • Age 53
  • Tour 16 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Sentenced to life

Most Recent Reflection

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This was my great uncle. My mom told me great stories of him. Thanks to all who help remember men like my Uncle Jack.

Great Nephew

October 29, 2019

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