Officer Roy Larson
End of Watch : December 6, 1930
Moorhead Police Department
|OFFICER ROY E. LARSON|
Died December 6, 1930
On Saturday morning, December 6, a suspect entered the Fargo Pure Food Store in Fargo at 10:15 a.m. and robbed it at gunpoint, making off with $13. He left and ran between buildings to Seventh Street where he got into a Blue and White Cab and ordered the driver to take him to Moorhead. Two employees followed the suspect out of the store and got into another vehicle and followed the cab to Fourth Street North in Moorhead where the suspect went into a cigar store.
Cass County Deputy Sheriff Peter McArthur and a trustee prisoner, Bud Davis, arrived at the cigar store after being alerted by witnesses. They approached the suspect as he was exiting the store and it was reported McArthur said something to the suspect who then started firing and shot McArthur near his eye. McArthur fell to the ground. The trustee then said, "Give me that gun, I'll get that guy" and he fired at the suspect. The suspect ran north on Fourth Street and met Chief of Police P.E. Malvey who emptied his gun firing at the suspect. The chief had been alerted by the cab driver who drove there after dropping the suspect at the cigar store. The chief ran to the police station for more ammunition and recruited the assistance of Clay County Deputy Sheriff Peter Jenten. They went to First Avenue North to the coal sheds of the Interior Lumber Company where they found Officer Larson unconscious. It was assumed that Officer Larson did not know what started the chase, but had joined the search later. The suspect was lying in a pool of blood on the sidewalk about 40 feet away. Witnesses stated the suspect shot himself in the back of the head after he shot Larson. The bullet apparently went in behind his right ear, but did not penetrate the skull. Witnesses at the lumber yard stated the suspect told Larson to "come on out so I can get a shot at you." Larson stepped out then, but before he could draw his gun, the suspect fired two shots, hitting Larson in the cheek and through the head. Larson was taken to S. Ansgar Hospital and died at 12:50 p.m. The suspect was taken to Moorhead City Jail, weak from the loss of blood. He was later taken to the Clay County Jail
The suspect, Raymond P. Liggett, 29, of Detroit, Michigan, pled guilty to first-degree murder on December 23rd. He denied shooting Depty McArthur, stating he did not remember shooting him. He was sentenced to life in Stillwater State Penitentiary and transported there on December 27th, 1930. He recovered from his injuries and stayed in Stillwater for three years. In 1933, he was transferred to St. Peter State Hospital. He was paroled in 1969 at the age of 68.
Also, on December 27th, Deputy McArthur underwent successful surgery to save the sight in his right eye. He died in 1977.
Trustee Bud Davis received freedom for his actions that day and the county bought him a railroad ticket to return home to Iowa. He had been serving a six-month term for a liquor violation.
Officer Larson was 27 years old and single. He was hired with Moorhead PD in 1929. There were three funeral services for him. The first one was at Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead where 1,500 police and residents attended. The second one was at his family home, and the third was a Zion Lutheran Church in Spring Prairie. It was described as the biggest funeral ever seen there. He was buried in Riverside Cemetery north of Glyndon.
Sourced from: The book "We Will Remember"
With permission from Lisa Lovering, Author and Board of Director
MN Law Enforcement Memorial Association
|August W. Haase||Harry E Parker|