Special Agent
John Irwin Wilson
Bureau of Prohibition – U.S. Department of Justice
Wednesday, July 22, 1931

Age: 34
Served: 3 years, 1 month
Badge #:
Panel 30E, Line 17
Panel L1, Line 4

Incident Details

Cause of Death:
Date/Time of Incident:
Wednesday, July 22, 1931
08:10 pm
Incident to Death Duration:
Same day
Incident Location:
Lower Huntington Road near Waynedale
Incident County:
Incident Township:
Weapon Used:
.45-caliber handgun
Suspect Disposition:
Sentenced to 2 to 21 years
Burial Place:
Rosehill Cemetery, Rockwell City, Iowa

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   Special Agent John Wilson and Special Agent Walter Gilbert were shot and killed while attempting to arrest a man during an undercover operation in Fort Wayne.

   The agents had arranged to meet the man at Stellhorn Bridge for the delivery of liquor.

   When the man arrived he suspected he was being setup and opened fire, striking Agent Wilson four times, killing him instantly. Agent Gilbert was struck once in the back and died from the wounds he suffered at Lutheran Hospital later that evening.

   The 35-year-old suspect, who was also shot and wounded, was apprehended the following day. He was charged with first-degree murder in a death penalty case but was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter by a jury and sentenced to 2 to 21 years in prison.

   Special Agent Wilson, from Indianapolis, had recently been appointed the agent in charge of the Indianapolis Office. He was survived by his wife, mother and three brothers.

Military Service


United States Navy ▪ 1917–1919
United States Army ▪ 1922–1927

Historical Note

• This incident was one of 24 which resulted in the line of duty deaths of two officers.

The responsibilities of the Bureau of Prohibition – U.S. Department of Justice (1930–1933) are now under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – U.S. Department of Justice.

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Special Agent Wilson
Special Agent John Irwin Wilson - Bureau of Prohibition – U.S. Department of Justice - INLEM.org