Chief Frank Otis Town
End of Watch : July 10, 1943
Park Rapids Police Department
|CHIEF FRANK OTIS TOWN|
Park Rapids PD
Died July 10, 1943
On Saturday, July 10th, around 6:00 p.m., Carl Trowbridge and his 19-year-old son, Merle, returned home after spending the afternoon in town. Once home, Carl assaulted his wife and older daughter, hitting and choking them. Merle also became involved and, during the fracas, made some threats. Mr. Trowbridge took a .22 rifle and ran to the barn. Mrs. Trowbridge went to a neighbor's house and called for help. Chief Town, who had been to the home on numerous occasions, responded. Upon arrival, he drove into the yard, parked his car near the back door and walked toward the barn. Trowbridge fired one shot from a hole in the screen covering a window in the gable end of the barn, hitting Town in the heart. Town took several steps toward his car and fell to the ground.
Merle, who had been in the house, and a neighbor, George Hinton, who witnessed the shooting, carried Town to Hinton's car and took him to the hospital where he died shortly thereafter. After the shooting, Mr. Trowbridge ran across an open field behind the house, reloaded his gun, and hid behind some bushes near the Cyril Bethel residence. Bethel located him and tried to get him to surrender, but Trowbridge pointed his gun at him and warned him to get away. Bethel then offered to get him two hamburgers and a box of snuff. Trowbridge allowed him to approach closer, at which time Bethel struck him with his right hand and grabbed the barrel of the gun, wrestling it away from him. Trowbridge pulled a knife and charged Bethel. Bethel hit him over the head and on the right arm with his gun, breaking bones. The sheriff and his posse then apprehended him.
Trowbridge admitted to the shooting, stating he had a long-standing grudge against the popular officer His son, Merle, was held as a material witness. Trowbridge was sentenced to life in Stillwater Prison for first-degree murder. A sanity commission was convened and found he was sane at the time of the murder.
Chief Town was born October 31, 1883. He was 59 years old. He had been a constable for several years and for the last 11 years was the chief. In 1931, his wife, Marian, and two sons, Jerry and Leonard, died. He was survived by his wife, Elsie, who he married in 1934, two sons from his first marriage, Paul and Edward, and his stepdaughter, Ada. His funeral was held Wednesday at the armory and he was buried in Greenwood Cemetery.
Sourced from: The book "We Will Remember"
With permission from Lisa Lovering, Author and Board of Director
MN Law Enforcement Memorial Association
|George Washington Bridwell||John W O'Neil|