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That time a dropped gun killed a Salt Lake City police sergeant

Published April 15, 2014 5:07 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A Salt Lake City policeman met an untimely end after a new guy dropped his gun 120 years ago.

Sgt. Alonzo Wilson, 54, was working a morning desk sergeant shift on April 12, 1894, his pregnant and very expectant wife at home. But Wilson would never see the baby's face. A new patrolman dropped a loaded pistol and the gun went off when it hit the floor, hitting Wilson in his right knee and shattering his femur, according to a Salt Lake City police memorial that honored the anniversary of the fallen officer's death on Saturday.

Wilson was taken to the hospital, where his leg was amputated. During the surgery, though, doctors found that the bullet had traveled to Wilson's torso.

He died about five hours after he had been shot.

The next day, his pregnant wife gave birth to their seventh child.

The Vermont native is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery. The police department erected a bronze marker in January to memorialize Wilson's service at 100 S. State Street, where the police headquarters used to be.

— Michael McFall

Twitter: @mikeypanda