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

Washington County Sheriff's Office

SHERIFF WILLIAM FRED SWEET

Photograph Not Available

Sheriff Sweet and Marshal Aaron Bailey, of the Washington County Sheriff's Office and the Washington Police Department, were shot and killed on Wednesday, June 25, 1930, after arresting a man wanted for stealing a car in Ottumwa.

The men had spotted the stolen car and stopped it near the city of Washington. They arrested the driver and took him to the county courthouse. When Sheriff Sweet began to search the suspect, the man suddenly produced a .38 caliber revolver and open fired, striking Marshal Bailey twice and Sheriff Sweet three times.

Another policeman, who the officers had picked up while en route to the courthouse, exchanged shots with the suspect but did not hit him.

The suspect fled the scene and remained at large for four years. On January 6, 1934, the suspect, along with several other criminals, was shot and killed in Illinois by members of the Chicago Police Department. The man was suspected of several other murders and other crimes.

Sheriff Sweet served with the Washington County Sheriff's Office for 9 years. He had been appointed as sheriff only 7 months earlier after the former sheriff resigned. He was 59 years old and survived by his two sons.

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