Sergeant Benjamin O. Booth -- Badge #13
Sergeant Ben Booth, an original member of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, was fatally shot on June 14, 1933, at a road block in Columbia, Missouri, after having stopped two persons suspected of a Mexico, Missouri, bank robbery. Sergeant Booth was 35 at the time of his death, was married, and had two small children. Also killed in the incident was Boone County Sheriff Roger Wilson, grandfather of former Missouri Governor Roger Wilson.
The two murderers escaped after killing Sergeant Booth and Sheriff Wilson and a 17 month investigation by law enforcement officials followed. Finally, Francis McNeily, who was a known outlaw, told officers about shooting Sergeant Booth and Sheriff Wilson and implicated George McKeever. McKeever was located in the South Dakota State Penitentiary. McNeily was convicted of killing Sheriff Wilson and received a penitentiary sentence. McKeever was convicted of murdering Sergeant Booth and was hanged in Fulton, Missouri, on December 18, 1936. Neither McNeily nor McKeever was involved in the Mexico bank robbery.
Sergeant Ben Booth was the first member of the Missouri State Highway Patrol to be killed in the line of duty. He was survived by his wife, a 7-year-old daughter, and an 8-year-old son.
As part of the Patrol's 75th Anniversary Celebration, employees of the Patrol have written in-depth articles about each of the officers that have been killed in the line of duty. These stories go more into the officer's life, who they were and their families, than just the circumstances of their death.