Line of Duty Deaths

City Marshal Julius Blume

EOW: December 21, 1887
Cause: Accident - Railroad
Source: Petaluma Weekly Argus Daily, 24 December 1887 page 3

On Wednesday, December 21, 1887, Petaluma City Marshal Julius Blume was on duty when he finished conducting business in Santa Rosa and was returning on the number 4 train to Petaluma. His wife and visiting brother-in-law were waiting at the train depot when it arrived. In a hurry to see his wife before his next appointment, he tried to step from the train as it slowed down. He slipped and fell and was run over by the moving train car.

City Marshal Blume was 44 years old and a native of Prussia. He came to America as a young boy and was raised in Petaluma. He had been re-elected to the position of City Marshal for many years after serving as detective.

Police Officer Bert Johnson

EOW: February 27, 1925
Cause: Accident - Gunfire
Source: Petaluma Weekly Argus Daily, 28 February 1925 pages 1, 4, 8

On Friday, February 27, 1925, at about 11:20pm, Petaluma Officers Melvin Miller and Bert Johnson were on foot patrol in the area of C Street across from the Sullivan and Jameson Garage when they heard a noise inside. Finding an open door to the rear, Officer Miller stood by the door while Officer Johnson began to search the interior. With a flashlight in his off hand and his 38 special in his other hand he searched the garage used to store large commercial trucks. Officer Miller watched as Officer Johnson climbed in the side rail to look inside the truck when a single shot rang out. Officer Johnson fell to the ground and was dead from a single gunshot wound to the neck from his own weapon. The accidental shooting was investigated by Chief Melvin Flohr and City Constable R.L. Rasmussen.

Constable Rasmus L. Rasmussen

EOW: April 20, 1927
Cause: Gunfire – Rifle .30-.30
Source: ODMP
Constable Rasmus L. Rasmussen

Constable Rasmus Rasmussen was shot and killed while controlling the perimeter of a home in which a man was barricaded. The suspect had shot and killed the owner of the service station at Cherry Street and Petaluma Boulevard over an argument about his dog. The suspect also shot and killed an innocent bystander who tried to prevent the killing of the service station owner. After barricading himself in his home on Cherry Street, responding officers and citizens surrounded the house and attempted to talk the suspect out. During the standoff, Deputy Rasmussen shot some windows out. The suspect inside returned fire killing Constable Rasmussen. The other officers, citizens, and a military machine gun company returned fire, killing the suspect.

Constable Rasmussen also served as a deputy with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department. He was survived by his wife and five children and is buried in the Berkeley Cemetery.

Police Officer Vilho O. Ahola

EOW: February 2, 1998
Cause: Gunfire .25 Cal Semi-Auto
Source: ODMP and PPD Archives
Police Officer Vilho O. Ahola

On Friday, November 7, 1969, at about 11am, Officer Vilho O. Ahola responded to a disturbance call on Webster Street. He was standing by as the female was removing items from the home when the husband appeared and got the drop on the officer as he was pointing a .25 caliber semi-auto handgun at him. The husband ordered the officer to turn over his gun and a struggle began between them. The suspect shot Officer Ahola in the neck rendering him a quadriplegic. Officer Ahola would never return to the street, but came back to volunteer at the Department and with local youth programs. His tragic circumstances never kept him from having a positive attitude and a willingness to help others. In his honor, the Department annually recognizes the most inspirational employee of the year and has dedicated the US101 and Old Redwood Highway interchange to his memory and sacrifice.