|Death: ||Nov. 26, 1858|
Columbia Policeman Joel McDonald and Columbia Constable John Leary were shot and killed during an operation to arrest three professional thieves.
The officers had noticed the three suspicious men loitering around the town and came up with a plan to determine their motives. Policeman McDonald approached the men out of uniform and began talking with them. After he earned the men's trust, it was suggested that Policeman McDonald and the three thieves would rob a house together and then go back to Policeman McDonald's saloon to divide the loot. McDonald informed Constable Leary of the plan, and the two agreed that Leary would hide at the saloon during the robbery so that the suspects could be taken by surprise.
The robbery went as planned, but the robbers grew suspicious as they approached the saloon because they noticed a light was on. They asked Policeman McDonald what the light meant. Because they were unsatisfied with his answer, they drew a gun and shot him in the head, killing him instantly. They then fled the scene.
Three days later, Constable Leary located the suspects and was attempting to arrest one of them when the suspect pulled out a gun and fatally shot him.
All three suspects were captured within days of the incident. Two were taken from the jail and lynched by angry citizens.
Deputy McDonald is honored at the California State Peace Officer Memorial in Sacramento, CA, and the National Peace Officer Memorial in Washington, D.C., Panel W-8, Line 7.
Created by: Ed Smith
Record added: Jul 13, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 39402848
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