Oscar Lampinen was the man responsible for Marquette's worst murder spree.

A Saturday running redEdit

In August 1924, Oscar Lampinen stole a Studebaker sedan in the city of Grand Rapids, MN.  He drove this vehicle to MI before wrecking it. On August 24, he robbed a drug store on West Washington Street, and was spotted (by Officer Thornton) acting suspiciously upon exit.  When confronted, Lampinen shot the officer. 

From the Escanaba Daily Press:

Marquette, Mich., Aug. 26. Lloyd Ford, 19 year old son of Marquette’s dead chief of police, Martin Ford, died today in a hospital where he had been taken after being shot early Saturday morning by Oscar Lampinen, 24 years old, of Deerton, who had previously killed Patrolman Thomas Thornton and Ford’s father. The Fords were shot in the pursuit of Lampinen, who fatally wounded Patrolman Thornton when the latter frustrated a burglary in the Boucher drug store. Thornton died about 20 minutes later.

Receiving a tip that a man answering the description of Lampinen had been sighted walking down the railroad tracks, about three miles from Marquette, the chief of police, his son, and Patrolman Tippett set out in pursuit. Coming upon the slayer, the latter ran into the woods, followed by the trio. It is believed that he turned to his left and concealed himself behind the high bank of the Chocolay River from where he first shot the chief, and then fired upon his last victim. Tippett, who had gone into a swamp alone in search of Lampinen, hearing shots on his left, ran over to his companions. He was the target for the last bullet Lampinen had in his revolver, but it missed its mark and Lampinen dove into the river in an attempt to swim to freedom. The unscathed officer, from atop of the river bank, fired at Lampinen as he came to the surface, the bullet cutting a deep hole in the top of the slayer’s head. He arose to the surface and the officer again fired, but missed him. Lampinen sank and the body was recovered an hour afterwards by members of the coast guard.

It is estimated that 2,500 persons were in St. Peter’s Catholic Cathedral this morning when services were conducted for the chief of police and the patrolman. About 150 automobiles were in the Ford funeral procession, while double this number formed a line nearly two miles long for Thornton. Marquette observed a half holiday this morning out of respect to the officers.


  • Killed via gunshots
    • 8/24/1924, Washington Street, Marquette, Michigan.
      • Police chief Martin Ford, 55 yo
      • Officer Thomas J. Thornton, 26 yo
      • Lloyd Ford, son of police chief
      • Officer Walter Tippet (attempted; but survived)

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