National memorial features two local police officers
Both died as a result of on-duty injuries.
Fallen law enforcement officers all over the county are honored during National Police Week for their sacrifices — including two local men who are named on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Nobles County Sheriff Terrance "Terry" McCall died Sunday, Aug. 8, 1920 while on duty. A Globe article from Aug. 12, 1920 explained that McCall was pursuing a suspect wanted for stealing suitcases when he encountered two transients near the railroad depot at Miloma (near the Jackson-Nobles county line).
The older of the two, described as about age 35, had a coat over his right arm, and had hidden a revolver in the hand concealed by the coat. As McCall stepped toward the man to search him, five shots rang out, and both McCall and a civilian (the victim in the theft case) were shot. Although the civilian was struck twice in the head, he survived his injuries.
McCall died at the scene. He didn't even have time to draw his weapon.
"So rapidly and cleverly did the murderer pull his trigger, that the officer was give no chance to defend himself," The Globe reported.
The other transient, a 17-year-old boy, broke the window of the depot's hotel so he could use the phone to call for a doctor. He had just met the murderer that morning and was not involved in either the theft or the shooting.
The murderer fled into the night, and it took search parties, bloodhounds and a National Guard company to track him down four days later near Butterfield. The suspect was identified as William Rinker, also known as John Williams. His young companion testified against him at trial, and he was convicted of McCall's murder and sentenced to life in prison.
At the time of his death, McCall had four children aged 9 to 17. He was also survived by his wife and his mother. McCall is buried in Sacred Heart Cemetery in Brewster.
Less is known about Worthington Police Officer Roy Fitch, who died Sunday, June 19, 1938 as a result of an injury sustained on duty. A few days earlier, he had been performing routine business checks when he slipped and fell, coming away with a brain injury.
A WWI Army veteran, Fitch was taken to Fort Snelling veterans hospital, where he later died from a brain hemorrhage. He remains the only WPD officer to date to be killed in the line of duty.
In 2018, the Worthington Police Department renamed the department's highest award after Fitch. The Roy Fitch Medal of Valor will be awarded to officers who perform with distinction, gallantry and courage in the line of duty. The action or deed must be one of personal bravery or self-sacrifice that clearly distinguishes the individual and must have involved the immediate risk of the officer's life.