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Nomination For Peace Officer’s Memorial

Sonora, CA– The Sonora Police Department is hoping to add a historic fallen police officer to the California Peace Officer’s Memorial in Sacramento.


According to Police Chief Mark Stinson, a letter has been sent to the California Peace Officer’s Memorial Foundation recommending Officer John Sheldon.


Sheldon is believed to have been the first officer killed in the line of duty while serving the City of Sonora in 1855. The letter states that on the morning of April 29th, 1855, at around 3:30 am, Officer Sheldon was ambushed by two men while walking his beat in downtown Sonora.


The two suspects approached him from behind and fatally stabbed him. His two attackers were located in Tuttletown and at the time of the arrest were in possession of Sheldon’s pistol. One of the men was also sharpening the knife identified as the murder weapon.


Suspects, Banancio Escobar and Jose Sebada were transported back to Sonora to stand trial. Evidence was presented which lead to a verdict of “guilty of murder in the first degree.” Both men were sentenced to death and were executed by hanging with 4,000 people in attendance.


Stinson’s letter concludes:


“We the Sonora Police Department and the City of Sonora believe evidence exists, and was presented to show that Officer John Sheldon was in fact a law enforcement officer for the City of Sonora and that he was performing such duties when he was attacked and murdered in the early morning hours of April 29, 1855. If you agree, we would like to see Officer John Sheldon’s name added to the honorable roll of Officer’s who have fallen in the line of duty.”


Written by tina.falco@mlode.com