Deputy Sheriff Robert R. Lawson

Deputy Sheriff Robert R. Lawson

Itasca County Sheriff's Office, Minnesota

End of Watch Thursday, October 29, 1981

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Robert R. Lawson

Deputy "Beefy" Lawson was shot and killed while attempting to serve a warrant on a suspect.

Deputy Lawson was off duty, but at the request of the suspect's estranged wife, he reported onto duty and went to arrest the man. The suspect had been arrested by Deputy Lawson on several previous occasions. After shooting Deputy Lawson, the man took his two young children hostage for 18 hours before he was taken into custody.

The 27-year-old suspect was convicted of murder and sentenced to life. He was denied parole in January 2016 and again in January 2021. As of April 4, 2023, he was in prison.

Deputy Lawson had been with the Itasca County Sheriff's Office for 11 years. He was survived by his wife and seven children. Two of his sons went on to serve as officers with Itasca County.

His name lives on through the Beefy Lawson Memorial Fund, which has given more than $250,000 to youth recreation projects in the area.


  • Age 51
  • Tour 11 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .357 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to life

warrant service

Most Recent Reflection

View all 22 Reflections

Grandpa… I was only 2 when you were taken from all of us and can’t remember your face. I hear so many great stories of you and meet many people that loved and respected who you were as a person/officer. I so wish we could of had more time but know you’re there with me everyday I walk the line. I can only hope to be as great as you. I rejoice for the day we meet in heaven. I love and miss you Buddy Guy

Grandson - D.J. Roberts
Itasca County Sheriffs Dept.

January 14, 2022

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