By: Keith Dameron, Historian – Colorado Law Enforcement Memorial

Patrolman Frederick Barner, 48, was shot and killed at 10th Street and North Main on Sunday night, March 21, 1909. Officer Barner had arrested two men near 10th and Grand and walked them to the police call box on Main. As he opened the box to call for the patrol wagon, one of the men stepped back, drew a gun and shot Barner one time in the chest. The men fled east on 10th Street and disappeared in the vacant lots near the Grand Hotel. Detective Gray heardFrederick H. Barner the shot and was at the scene within minutes. He found Barner dead from a shot through the heart.

Pueblo police officers were called out and a search for the suspects started. Many men were rounded up but eventually released for lack of evidence. Police believe that Barner had possibly captured two members of a gang that had been burglarizing residences along Grand Avenue. One strong suspect, Felis Martinez, was arrested and charged. Witnesses identified him by his description and a hat that was found at the scene. The weak part of this arrest was the determination that Barner was shot with a .41 caliber bullet and Martinez was carrying a .38 caliber revolver.

Frederick House Barner was born in Susquahanna Township, Juniata County, Pennsylvania on July 20, 1860. He married Edith C. Sell in Pueblo on October 17, 1888. Frederick worked as a conductor for the Santa Fe and Denver and Rio Grande Railroads before he joined the Pueblo Police Department in 1908. He was survived by his wife and three boys, Roy, 17, Joseph, 15 and Carl, 11; parents Joseph and Sarah (House) Barner of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; five sisters and one brother.

Services were held on March 26 at St. Marks English Lutheran Church on Pitkin Street near Union Avenue. Nearly 1,000 people attended and Barner was praised for his bravery and fearless dedication to duty. The funeral cortege was coordinated by the Elks Lodge #90 of Pueblo with the police department, Elks, Mason's, Order of Railway Conductors, and other fraternal organizations in the procession. Burial was in the 'Elks Rest' at Roselawn Cemetery. Las Animas County Undersheriff Kreegar came to Pueblo and interviewed Martinez and determined that he was probably innocent of the killing. Martinez was later released and no one was ever convicted in the death of Officer Barner.

EOW:  21 Mar 1909
Cause of Death: Gunfire

Pueblo Police Department
Pueblo Chieftain- Mar 22-29, 1909
Research Ancestry- Library Edition