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2000 badge with a mourning band

George Robert Stegner

Appointed April 30, 1919
Ht: 5’9” Wt: 160#
End of Tour Thursday, October 12, 1922

Saint Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota
[Minnesota Death Certificate No. 1922-MN-023540]

Fatally injured by gunfire while intervening in a fight.


Photo of George Stegner

At 2225 hours (10:25 p.m.) on Wednesday, October 11, 1922, Motorcycle Patrolman George Robert Stegner1, Badge No. 197, was sent to a disturbance call at 146 State Street in the City of Saint Paul. Patrolman William A. Borden2, Badge No. 173, was already on-scene and had requested assistance. Prior to Stegner’s arrival Borden had entered the shack and had been shot, suffering several flesh wounds. Five minutes later, Patrolman Stegner arrived. He also went into the shack and was fatally shot in the abdomen. Borden was taken to City and County Hospital (later named Ancker Hospital) and successful surgery performed.

The suspect, Will Johns, alias Will Smith and Will Hones, 40, of 170 Eaton Street, fled but was arrested about three hours later by Detectives Carl P. Mayer3, Badge No. 64, Edward S. Hughes4, Badge No. 492, and John J. McGowan5, Badge No. 134 & 273, at 313 E. Seventh Street, lying on a bed with a .38-caliber pistol pointed at the officers. An hour after being captured, he admitted to the shooting. He stated he did not know Stegner was an officer, but later pled guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in Stillwater State Prison.

Taken to City and County Hospital (later named Ancker Hospital), Stegner succumbed to his gunshot wound while in surgery at 0330 hours (3:30 a.m.), Thursday, October 12, 1922, two hours after the suspect had been arrested.

Born on May 29, 1895, and raised in Zumbro Falls, Wabasha County, Minnesota, twenty-seven year old George Robert Stegner (some say George Albert Stegner) had been with the Bureau of Police since April 30, 1919 (three years), and had spent most of his years working out of the Rondo Avenue Substation. He was survived by his wife of one month, Sarah Jane, and daughter Dorothy Lottie, from a previous marriage. Patrolman Stegner’s funeral was held on Saturday, October 14, 1922, at the Connelly & Gillingham Funeral Chapel, 399 Prior Avenue, and he is buried at Forest Cemetery (Forest Lawn Memorial Park), in what is now Maplewood, Minnesota.

1 George Robert Stegner was appointed Motorcycle Patrolman (temporary) April 30, 1919; was appointed Motorcycle Patrolman (permanent) September 1, 1919; was fatally injured by gunfire while intervening in a fight October 11, 1922, and died Thursday, October 12, 1922.

2 William A. Borden was appointed Patrolman December 16, 1913, assigned to the Radio Squad; was assigned to Foot Patrol March 23, 1930; and retired February 4, 1941. Please note that during that time period there was at least one resignation and reinstatement.

3 Carl P. Mayer was appointed Patrolman June 11, 1917; took Military Leave June 15, 1918; returned to work September 5, 1919; was assigned to Motorcycle Duty April 16, 1920; was promoted to Detective January 26, 1921; was assigned to the Auto Division July 30 1930; was assigned to the Juvenile Bureau May, 1933; was promoted to Detective Lieutenant September 1, 1936; took Military Leave May 2, 1941; and resigned September 1, 1951.

4 Edward S. Hughes was appointed Patrolman November 23, 1920; was promoted to Detective May 1, 1928; and was removed by the Civil Service Board March 18, 1935. Please note that during that time period there was at least one resignation and reinstatement.

5 John J. McGowan was appointed Chauffeur May 16, 1921; was assigned to Plainclothes Duty December 15, 1921; was promoted to Detective March 27, 1936; and retired December 1, 1943.