WEBB CITY, Mo. — A fallen officer is the focus of a new effort in Webb City to honor the past.
“August 2, 1902, Marshall Leonard Rich went to break up a bar fight in Webb City. He was killed in the line of duty that day,” said Webb City Police Dept. Chief Don Melton.
The suspect, Joe Gideon, was shot and killed by one of the two other officers on the scene. They were called to break up a bar fight at Lizzie Read’s Resort on Main Street. More than 100 years later, Webb City Police Chief Don Melton wants to make sure the incident and Rich’s sacrifice are still remembered.
“And he is buried here in Webb City. However, his marker doesn’t show his line of duty death,” added Chief Melton.
Something Chief Melton wants to change.
“We’d like to add a plaque, something similar to what they do at the state capitol,” he said.
There aren’t many details about the shooting. And the one photo they thought they had of City Marshal Rich turned out to be from three years after his death. So, Chief Melton is hoping to track down any remaining family members or anyone with more information.
“It’s unfortunate we have to honor these officers in this way. But I’m glad that we do have the support of the community. Also like to add that we are we are hoping to find some relative of Marshal Rich to help us honor his sacrifice by placing a plaque or something on his tombstone.”
Marshal Rich is buried in the Webb City Cemetery at Oronogo and Cardinal Road, a site marking his on-duty death 120 years ago this week.