1944 – Arthur Simpson – Officer – Riverside Police Department

Officer Arthur Simpson

Biographical Info:

Born:  Unknown
Age: 34
Tour of Duty: 3 years
Badge Number: Not available

Incident Details:

Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: March 5, 1944
Weapon Used: Handgun; .45 caliber semi-auto
Suspect Info: Committed suicide

On the evening of March 5, 1944, a report was broadcast that U. S. Army Lieutenant Swanson, from the Army Camp Anza, located in Riverside, was wanted by the Army Police. This marked the beginning of a series of shootings on and around the military reservation where eight people were shot, three fatally. Army Lieutenant Swanson forced an Army sergeant to drive through the camp’s gate without lights and without stopping. He then ordered the driver to pull over on the wrong side of the road as a civilian vehicle approached. Lieutenant Swanson then shot the civilian driver of the other vehicle in the side and was in the process of forcing him to drive (with the driver’s wife and infant in the rear seat of the vehicle). Having recently left the Police Station, Riverside Police Officers Cole and Simpson saw the abandoned Army vehicle parked on the side of the road and the civilian vehicle and stopped to investigate. As the officers approached the vehicles, Swanson confronted Officer Cole with an Army issued .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun in hand. Officer Simpson ordered Swanson to put the gun away. Instead, Lieutenant Swanson fired two shots, hitting Officer Simpson in the stomach. Officer Cole returned fire, hitting Swanson. Swanson was taken into custody and transported to the Riverside General Hospital in serious condition. Officer Simpson was also rushed to the County hospital, where he died shortly after his arrival. He had been a member of the Riverside Police Department since April 1, 1941.

The suspect was convicted of four counts of first degree murder and sentenced to death. On July 7, 1944, he hanged himself with a bed sheet from a ceiling radiator in his hospital room where he was still being treated for his bullet wounds.

Officer Simpson’s burial location is not known.

Posted in End Of Watch.

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