Patrolman Robert B. McPherson

Patrolman Robert B. McPherson

San Diego Police Department, California

End of Watch Thursday, September 19, 1929

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Robert B. McPherson

Patrolman Robert McPherson was killed after being assaulted while on jail duty.

He was attempting to pull an inmate off a cellmate he was choking. As he entered the cell the inmate grabbed Patrolman McPherson's nightstick and began beating him over the head with it. Other officers were able to subdue the prisoner. Patrolman McPherson was transported to a local hospital with serious head injuries.

The next day Patrolman McPherson left the hospital without permission but was later found walking around dazed and confused. He was returned to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries the next day.

The 41-year-old suspect was in jail for beating his 7-year-old son about his head with an iron pipe leaving him in critical condition. The man was arguing with his wife in their home when she took the boy and left. They were at 32nd and Marcos Streets when her husband walked up and attacked his son. A police officer with a prisoner drove near the location when the prisoner suddenly screamed "That man over there is killing that little boy." When the officer pulled his gun the man surrendered. He placed the suspect in the back seat with his prisoner, gave the original prisoner his nightstick, and told him to use it if he needed to keep the man under control. He put the boy in the front seat and drove to the county hospital where doctors went to work immediately to save the boy's life.

On November 10, 1929, the suspect was adjudged insane and committed to the Mendocino State Mental Hospital. His son recovered and had no recollection of the beating. His father was discharged in December 1930.

Patrolman McPherson had served with the San Diego Police Department for four years. He was survived by his wife and 12-year-old son.


  • Age 39
  • Tour 4 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Assault
  • Incident Date Tuesday, September 17, 1929
  • Weapon Officer's nightstick
  • Offender Committed

prisoner custody

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Rest in peace always and know that no passage of time can ever erase your service and sacrifice.

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

September 19, 2020

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