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Killed in the Line of Duty 155 Years Ago Today


SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake City Police Department today remembers the loss of one its own: Officer William Cooke, who died October 18, 1858, from injuries sustained in the line of duty.

Officer William Cooke was the first Utah police officer to be murdered in the line of duty.

On the afternoon of October 13, the 55-year-old officer was on duty and alone at the city jail when two men entered and demanded the release of an inmate. When Officer Cooke refused, one of the men shot him in the thigh. Cooke died five days later.

The killer fled Salt Lake City. He was shot and killed October 21, 1858, near Fort Bridger, Wyoming, by a Salt Lake mail carrier familiar with the murder.

Officer Cooke was married and the father of six children. He is buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

To learn more about our Fallen Officers, please visit