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. They fled eastbound on 10th Street and disappeared in the vacant lots near the Grand Hotel. Detective Gray heardFrederick H. Barner the shot and was on the scene within minutes. He found Barner dead from a gunshot through the heart.

Dozens of officers were called out and an extensive search began. Although several suspects were rounded up, all were eventually released for lack of evidence. Police believed that Barner had possibly captured two members of a gang that had been burglarizing residences along Grand Avenue. One of them, Felix Martinez, was arrested and charged based on witness descriptions and a hat found at the crime scene. The case, however, was weakened by the fact that he was carrying a .38 caliber revolver at the time of his arrest and Barner had been shot with a .41 caliber bullet.

Frederick House Barner was born Susquehanna Township, Juniata County, Pennsylvania on July 20, 1860. He married Edith C. Sell in Pueblo on October 17, 1888. He 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 sons, Roy, 17, Joseph, 15 and Carl, 11; parents Joseph and Sarah (House) Barner of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; five sisters and one brother.

Funeral services were held on March 26, at St. Mark’s English Lutheran Church on Pitkin Street near Union Avenue. Nearly 1,000 people attended. Barner was praised for his bravery and fearless dedication to duty. The funeral cortege was coordinated by the Elks Lodge #90 of Pueblo, which, along with the police department, Mason’s, Order of Railway Conductors, and other fraternal in the procession. Burial was in the Elks Rest section of Roselawn Cemetery.

When Las Animas County Undersheriff Kreegar came to Pueblo to interview Martinez, he concluded that Martinez was likely innocent of the killing and he was released. No one was ever convicted in the death of Officer Barner.

EOW:  21 Mar 1909
Cause of Death: Gunfire

Sgt. Ronald A. Gravatt, Pueblo Police Department
Pueblo Chieftain: Mar 22-29, 1909
Ancestry- Library Edition