In Memoriam: Sergeant John H. Johnston

Killed in the Line of Duty 102 Years Ago Today 


Posted: July 8, 2013 — The Salt Lake City Police Department today remembers the loss of one its own: Sergeant John H. Johnston, killed in the line of duty July 8, 1911.

During the early morning hours of July 5, the 42-year-old sergeant and two other officers responded to a domestic disturbance in a room at the Albert Hotel, 119 S. West Temple. Officers discovered an intoxicated man threatening his wife with a .32-caliber revolver.

As Sergeant Johnston stepped between the man and his wife, the suspect shot him once in the abdomen. The man was attempting to shoot Sergeant Johnston again when other officers subdued him.

Sergeant Johnston was transported to St. Mark’s Hospital, where he later died.

The suspect was charged with first-degree murder, convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Two years later, after the Utah Supreme Court ordered a new trial, the suspect pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. He was paroled in 1917.

Sergeant Johnston was married and the father of two children. He is buried at Mount Calvary Cemetery, Salt Lake City.

Visit  to learn more about SLCPD’s Fallen Officers and the memorial plaque program. To contact the Salt Lake City Police History Project, send an email to or call (801) 799-3340.