“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Van Wert in Van Wert County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Killing Spree Ends Here in 1948

Killing Spree Ends Here in 1948 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, October 1, 2013
1. Killing Spree Ends Here in 1948 Marker
Inscription.  One of Ohio's greatest manhunts ended here on the morning of July 23, 1948. Robert M. Daniels and John C. West, parolees from the state prison in Mansfield, had gone on a killing spree that left six people dead. Driving west on U.S. Route 224 in a stolen auto transport truck, the pair approached this intersection and encountered a roadblock. It was manned by Van Wert County Sheriff Roy Shaffer, Frank Friemoth, the county game warden, and Sergeant Leonard Conn of the Van Wert city police. West was driving the truck; Daniels was asleep in a car overhead. As Sheriff Shaffer climbed onto the truck and apprehended Daniels, West leaped from the cab and shot Conn in the chest and Friemoth in the arm. Conn returned fire and killed West. The officers survived their wounds. Daniels was convicted, sentenced to die, and electrocuted at the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus on January 3, 1949. This marker pays tribute to all law enforcement officers who risk their lives to protect the citizens of their communities.
Erected 1998 by Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 62, Van Wert County Historical Society, and the Ohio
Killing Spree Ends Here in 1948 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, October 1, 2013
2. Killing Spree Ends Here in 1948 Marker
View to north of US 224 / Stemen Road / SR 637 Intersection
Historical Society. (Marker Number 2-81.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Ohio Historical Society / The Ohio History Connection marker series.
Location. 40° 55.903′ N, 84° 28.552′ W. Marker is near Van Wert, Ohio, in Van Wert County. Marker is at the intersection of Stemen Road and U.S. 224, on the right when traveling north on Stemen Road. Marker is located at the southeast corner of the intersection of Stemen Road, US 224, and State Route 637. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Van Wert OH 45891, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Van Wert Gazebo (approx. 6.8 miles away); First County Library in the United States (approx. 7.1 miles away); The Brumback Library (approx. 7.1 miles away); The Miami and Erie Canal (approx. 7.2 miles away); Hoghe Road Bridge (approx. 7.8 miles away); Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Monument (approx. 8 miles away); Company D, 2nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Monument (approx. 8 miles away); a different marker also named Miami and Erie Canal (approx. 8.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Van Wert.
Regarding Killing Spree Ends Here in 1948. From Pages 28 and 29 of the Ohio State Highway Patrol History, 75th Anniversary 1933-2008:

     "In July 1948, former
US Route 224 Intersection image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, October 1, 2013
3. US Route 224 Intersection
View to the east - Daniels and West approached the police checkpoint from the east on US 224
convicts Robert M. Daniels and John C. West murdered John E. Niebel, a farm manager at the Mansfield Reformatory, and his wife and daughter. Both Daniels and West already had other charges against them and were on the run from lawmen.
     The duo stole a vehicle and fled to Cleveland, then decided the next day to escape to Indiana. They headed west for a couple of days after the Niebel family murders, stealing another vehicle. This theft resulted in two more murders – a motorist and a truck driver.
     Officials finally realized that West and Daniels still were near the Ohio-Indiana border and immediately put into effect the Patrol’s blockade plan. All posts in District A were instructed by telephone to put blockade plans M16 (Maumee River) and M15 (Sandusky River) into effect. Patrol officials also alerted local police departments.
     Van Wert County Sheriff Roy Shaffer, Van Wert City Police Department Sergeant L.D. Conn and a state conservation officer were at a checkpoint when West drove up in a stolen vehicle. Sheriff Shaffer became suspicious while questioning West. Shaffer climbed on top of the vehicle, discovered Daniels and ordered him out at gun point.
     West tried to run and opened fire, wounding a Lima officer and the state conservation officer, but the Lima policeman returned fire and shot West, who died two hours later. Officials captured
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Daniels without incident. The wounded officers later recovered."
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Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 5, 2013, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 1,058 times since then and 164 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 5, 2013, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.
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