Deputy Sheriff
John E. Gardner
Dubois County Sheriff's Department
Tuesday, June 2, 1885

Age: 42
Served: 1 day
Badge #:
Not Included
Not Included

Incident Details

Cause of Death:
Date/Time of Incident:
Monday, June 1, 1885
05:00 pm
Incident to Death Duration:
1 day
Incident Location:
State Road 164 and Meridian Road
Incident County:
Incident Township:
Weapon Used:
Officer's handgun
Suspect Disposition:
• Died while in custody
• Sentenced to 2 to 21 years
Burial Place:
Jasper City Cemetery, Jasper

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   Deputy Sheriff John Gardner and Deputy Sheriff William Cox were shot while attempting to arrest two brothers on grand larceny warrants from Martin County at a schoolhouse two miles east of Jasper.

   During the arrest, the younger brother gained control of Deputy Gardner's pistol while the older brother shot Deputy Cox in the hand, disarming him. Both deputies were then shot with their own weapons before the brothers fled on the deputy's horses.

   Deputy Gardner was shot four times and died early the following day. Deputy Cox, who was shot twice, suffered severe wounds and remained paralyzed from the waist down until his death nearly two years later.

   The 35- and 39-year-old suspects were found 16 years later as inmates at the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Frankfort. They escaped to avoid extradition to Indiana one day before their sentences were served for bank robbery and setting on fire the city of Cadiz.

   They were captured in Mount Vernon, Illinois and while being transferred from the Indiana Reformatory to the Dubois County Jail to stand trial, the older brother was shot and killed as they again attempted to escape.

   The younger brother was charged with second-degree murder, convicted by a jury of manslaughter of both deputies and sentenced to 2 to 21 years in prison.

   Deputy Sheriff Gardner, from Jasper, was survived by his wife, son, two daughters, three brothers and four sisters. He had been deputized by the sheriff that day to make the arrest.

Military Service

United States Army
Civil War (Union)
Private (PVT) ▪ 1861–1863

Purple Heart Medal

Historical Notes

• Deputy Sheriff Gardner is one of four known officers killed in the line of duty in Indiana who served only one day.
• This incident was one of 24 which resulted in the line of duty deaths of two officers.

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This officer has been denied inclusion on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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