Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Utah Crime & Courts
Tribune Justice Reporters
By Tribune Justice Reporters

Subscribe (RSS)




No photo of first SLC officer killed in line of duty

In 1858, Salt Lake City Police Officer William Cooke became the first Utah officer to be killed in the line of duty. Friday marked the 155th anniversary of his death, and while his story lives on, a photo to remember him by is still lost to time.

The 55-year-old officer was on duty and alone at the city jail on Oct. 13, watching an inmate who was there on "very minor charges," said Lt. Mike Ross, a historian within the department. Ross guessed that the charges were probably alcohol violations.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Then that afternoon, two men came in and demanded the inmate be released. But when Cooke refused, one of the men shot him in the thigh, according to a police department memorial.

Cooke died five days later.

The killer fled Salt Lake City. But three days after Cooke died, a Salt Lake mail carrier who was a close friend of the fallen officer tracked the killer to an area near Fort Bridger, Wyo. Records only give half the killer’s name — McDonald — a teamster who had recently arrived in Salt Lake City.

McDonald shot at the carrier hot on his trail, but missed. One account said the bullet did strike him, but that it had only grazed his collar, Ross said. The carrier returned fire and took out the killer with a shot to the throat.

Cooke, a husband and the father of six children, was buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

There are no known photos of the fallen officer. Ross wants to hang photos of all the force’s fallen in the new Public Safety Building, but is short any portrait of Cooke and another officer, Charles Riley. A suspected bank robber gunned down Riley while the officer was escorting him to jail on Oct. 5, 1909.

If you come across a photo of either Cooke or Riley, contact the police department at 801-799-3100.

Michael McFall



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
 
Jobs
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.