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Frank W. Fraser

Appointed April 27, 1891
End of Tour Monday, August 14, 1911

Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota
[Minnesota Death Certificate No. 1911-MN-021420]

Fatally injured by gunfire while attempting to apprehend
an escaped convict.


Photo of Frank Fraser

Just before 1700 hours (5:00 p.m.) on Saturday, August 12, 1911, Detective Frank W. Fraser1, Badge No. 100, was shot and killed while pursuing a Stillwater State Prison escapee in the City of Saint Paul. The subject, Peter Juhl, aka John Lewis, was an ostrich plume thief from Louisville, Kentucky, but was also wanted in several eastern cities for a string of robberies. Detective Fraser had been given information that the thief was enroute to Saint Paul and to be on the lookout for him.

Detective Fraser spotted Juhl and followed him from the millinery store of S. Weiss & Co. where he had attempted to steal some plumes onto a westbound Selby-Lake electric streetcar in the vicinity St. Peter and Market Street, and as he placed his hand on his shoulder, telling him he was under arrest, Juhl produced a revolver, turned, and shot the detective in the groin. As Fraser struggled with the man he was shot again in the hand. Patrolman Michael J. Fallon2, who was at Fourth and St. Peter Streets, heard the first shot and rushed to the streetcar to help. Once on the streetcar, Fallon struck the suspect several times in the head and the two officers were able to subdue him.

Detective Fraser succumbed to his fatal wounds at Saint Joseph’s Hospital two days later, at 1205 hours (12:05 p.m.) on Monday, August 14, 1911, and his assailant was returned to Stillwater Prison after being indicted on the murder charge, as there were rumors that citizens were going to break into the jail and hang him.

About ten years earlier, Detective Fraser made a famous capture of two out of state murders, Arthur Cutts and Olaf Gustavson who had murdered Lula Day, a resort keeper at Neilsville, Wisconsin. The murderers came to Saint Paul and two hours after arriving were captured by Detective Fraser at Fifth and Wabasha Streets. Returned to Wisconsin, they were convicted of the murder and sentenced to life in prison at the State Prison in Waupun.

Although police personnel records do not give a date of birth, other records indicate that Frank W. Fraser was born on March 6, 1863. Raised in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada, forty-eight year old Fraser had been with the Police Department since April 27, 1891 (twenty years) and had been a detective since October 4, 1902. He was survived by his wife, Anna, and daughter Hazel M. Murphy. Detective Fraser’s funeral was held on Thursday, August 17, 1911, at Saint Luke’s Catholic Church, and he is buried at Calvary Cemetery, Saint Paul, Minnesota.

1 Frank W. Fraser was appointed Patrolman April 27, 1891; was promoted to Detective October 4, 1902; was fatally injured by gunfire while attempting to apprehend an escaped convict August 12, 1911, and died on Monday, August 14, 1911.

2 Michael J. Fallon was appointed Patrolman May 15, 1909; was promoted to Desk Sergeant August 6, 1914; was promoted to Lieutenant July 1, 1925; was assigned to Plainclothes Duty April 1, 1931; and retired April 1, 1936.