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The Iowa Department of Public Safety Peace Officer Memorial Page Remembers . . .

Independence Police Department


Officer Harold Humphrey Pearce

Officer Pearce was shot and killed Thursday, January 5, 1956, during an escape attempt by a teenage boy he had just arrested. Officer Pearce and his partner had arrested three boys and two girls after a short car chase and was transporting them back to the police department on the first floor of the Buchanan County Courthouse. They put the three boys in an internal room with Officer Pearce's partner watching them, and the two girls in an outer room. One of the boys jumped from a window when he was permitted to use the bathroom. The boy then retrieved a shotgun from the backseat of their vehicle, which had been transported to the police department.

The suspect re-entered the police department and pointed the shotgun at Officer Pearce. He then demanded that Officer Pearce remove his pistol with his left hand. As Officer Pearce complied the boy shot him once in the chest with the shotgun. After freeing the two girls the boy fled the scene but was later arrested. He was convicted and sentenced to life where he remains in 2002, the longest serving prisoner in the state.

Officer Pearce had served the Independence Police Department for two years and was survived by his wife, two daughters, mother, and brother. He was 52 years old.

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Created: 01-15-2009
Last Updated: 02-05-2010 (JLR)