Constable Peter Scanlon was killed after being struck in the head with an oar while attempting an arrest.
He and other officers were serving a warrant on a man who had beat his wife as well as stolen several shotguns from another man. The suspect had also threatened not to be taken alive.
The officers located the man in a boat on the river’s shore. When Officer Scanlon jumped in the boat it was inadvertently pushed from shore. He yelled out to the other officers he would have the man row to his cabin a short distance away and to meet them there.
When the boat failed to show the other officers ran to the jail to see if they had gone there instead. A search was initiated when it was determined they hadn’t arrived at the jail either. Constable Scanlon’s body was recovered from the river the following day. An autopsy determined that he had been struck on the side of the head with an oar and died as a result.
Constable Scanlon was survived by two daughters.
Dubuque County Sheriff's Department
End of Watch: Jul. 13, 1880