Patrolman Lawrence E. Murphy

Patrolman Lawrence E. Murphy

Newton Police Department, Massachusetts

End of Watch Monday, September 13, 1937

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Lawrence E. Murphy

Patrolman Lawrence Murphy and Patrolman Henry Bell were shot and killed by a robbery suspect.

While on patrol, Patrolman Bell and his partner noticed a gray sedan that answered the description of a getaway car used in a recent robbery. The vehicle was stopped on Watertown Street near the intersection of Capital Street. After questioning the occupants, their suspicion was aroused, and while Patrolman Bell stood by the car, his partner took the cruising car to the nearest patrol call box to check with headquarters on the registration.

At this same time, Patrolman Murphy called into the station and was sent to the scene on his motorcycle. Meanwhile, the female operator of the vehicle diverted Patrolman Bell's attention and disarmed him. She then handed the gun to the male passenger, a known criminal and jailbreaker, who put the gun in Patrolman Bell's back and ordered him to drive the car. As they drove away, Patrolman Murphy overtook the car and forced it to stop. As Patrolman Murphy dismounted from his motorcycle, the suspect opened fire on Patrolman Murphy, striking him. The suspect then turned his gun on Patrolman Bell, fired two rounds into his right side, and fled. Although seriously wounded, Patrolman Murphy rose to his knees and fired at the fleeing suspect, hitting him at least once.

Patrolman Bell died at the scene. Patrolman Murphy was removed to the hospital, where he died the following month from his wounds.

The female suspect was captured at the scene. A week later, the male suspect was captured in an apartment in Dorchester in a raid led by the Newton Police Chief. He was later found guilty of murder and executed.

Patrolman Murphy had served with the Newton Police Department for two years. He was survived by his wife and four children.


  • Age 33
  • Tour 2 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Sunday, August 22, 1937
  • Weapon Handgun; .38 caliber
  • Offender Executed

suspicious person, suspicious vehicle, traffic patrol

Most Recent Reflection

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Patrolman Murphy, it has been 86 years since you were taken from us. What a family legacy of love and service you provided!

New England law enforcement has continued to thrive, learn and become safer due to the traditions and sacrifices you, your family, and many others have made for us. Thank you for your law enforcement service.

Chief (Ret) Steven Marshall
Georges Mills, NH

September 13, 2023

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