The Shooting of Laona Town Marshal Otto Olson

Burglar Shot Laona Officer Last Evening
Otto Olson, 58, Falls Victim to Two Charges from Shotgun
November 23, 1933 from the Rhinelander Daily News.

Crandon, WI – Ed Moore and Chief of Police Ted Bradley of Crandon left at 2 o’clock this
afternoon for Marinette, taking with them August Stewart, 25, confessed slayer of Officer
Otto Olsen, 58, of Laona.

Stewart will be arraigned before Circuit Judge Arnold Murphy at Marinette this afternoon,
charged with first degree murder and Sheriff Moore expects to continue on to Waupun prison
with Stewart as soon as sentence is passed, Stewart told officers he will plead guilty.

The Laona officer, who was town marshal and deputy sheriff, was shot last night at 10 o’clock
when he caught Stewart and another man attempting to loot a merchandise car on the North
Western railway tracks 400 feet from the station.

Several Cars Looted – In recent months, there have been several box cars broken open and
looted on the tracks in Laona, and Officer Olson had made it his habit to patrol the railroad
yards every night.  He surprised the two men in the act of entering a car last night, and was
within eight feet of the nearest man, when the burglar raised a shotgun and fired.  The first
shot missed the officer, but the second shot tore into the left side of his body, near the stomach.

Officer Olson fell to the ground, but emptied his revolver at the burglars.  They ran.  The burst of
gunfire was seen by several persons on the street of Laona.  Officer Olson got to his feet and
walked to the street, then collapsed.  He was taken to the Ovitz hospital in Laona, where he died
early this morning.

Sheriff Ed Moore – for whom Olson served as under sheriff for several months – was called to the
scene and with deputy sheriffs, started a search.  They found three shotgun shells near the boxcar,
and learned that Stewart had purchased 10 shotgun shells loaded with number 6 fine shot at a
Laona hardware store yesterday.  The shot that struck Officer Olson were that size.

Shotgun Was Found - Tracking the burglars, the officers found part of a shotgun behind a stump
near the Rat River.  The rest of the shotgun was found in Stewart’s car.  His rubber overshoes fitted
in the tracks of the man who had fired the shots.

Arrested and taken to Crandon, he continued to protest his innocence until this afternoon, when he broke down and confessed to Sheriff Moore and District Attorney E.W. Horne.  He refused to name his companion, how ever.

Another Laona young man, who was seen with Stewart last evening before the shooting is being held in jail here.

Just as the officers were starting away from the jail with Stewart for Marinette this afternoon, the slain officer’s son, Lavern Olson, came to the side of the car:

“Oh, why did you kill my father?” he shouted.

“I didn’t mean to kill him,” Stewart said. “I only wanted to get away.  I shot into the air the first time, and I didn’t intend to hit him when I fired the second time.”

Had Served Term – Stewart had served a term in the reformatory for freight car burglary, Sheriff Moore said.

Coroner William Gruman of Laona, recently appointed to fill the vacancy resulting from the death of Coroner Marsh, was called to help investigate the shooting.  It is unlikely that an inquest will be called.

Officer Olson had been a law official at Laona for many years.  When Ed Moore first elected sheriff, he named the Laona man as his resigned after six months’ service and returned to his police job at Laona.

The officer is survived by his widow and four children.  Funeral services had not been arranged this afternoon. 

Town Marshal At Laona Shot By Young Man
Officer Fatally Wounded When he Supervises Two Men Attempting to Loot Box Car
November 23, 1933 from the Sheboygan Press.

Crandon, WI - (AP) - August Stuart, 25, today confessed after several hours of grilling, Sheriff Edward Moore said, that he fatally wounded Otto Olson, 50, town marshal at Laona, Wisconsin.

Stuart will be taken to Marinette this afternoon where he will plead guilty, the sheriff said, to the slaying before Circuit Judge A.F. Murphy.  Anticipating a speedy sentence, the sheriff planned to take him directly to Waupun, clearing up the entire case within 24 hours after the death of Olson.

After several hours of intense quizzing Stuart finally broke down and admitted that he was one of the two men whom Olson surprised robbing a North Western road box car at Laona last night and that he fired the fatal shot.

Stuart, however, was firm in refusing to name his accomplice in the slaying.  Police held a suspect in the jail here at noon and they admitted they had no evidence to involve him in the crime.

Olsen Helped Nab Man Sought Here
Slain Laona Officer Was Well Known by Oneida County Officers.
November 23, 1933 from the Rhinelander Daily News.

Otto Olson, Laona officer who was shot and killed last night when he surprised two burglars about to loot  a North Western freight car, was well known by Sheriff John Farmen and by Undersheriff Hans Rodd, and once proved a valuable help to Oneida county in arresting  a murderer wanted here.

The Laona man served as undersheriff of Forest county for a time, at the same time Farmen was undersheriff of Oneida county.  He has worked with and assisted the local sheriff on several occasions.

According to the Oneida county officers, Olson was a good, conscientious officer. He was faithful in the discharge of his duties, and was a man without fear, local officers say.

The death of the Laona officer last night recalls how he aided Oneida county a number of years ago in the capture of a man sought here for murder.

The murder took place at Monico in the winter of 1915.  Walter Sandowski, alias Walter Wolfe, and Herman Singer were in a Monico saloon and a quarrel started between them.

They fought, and Singer won over Sandowski.  Just as they finished their battle, the North Western train pulled in at the station. Singer ran down the side of train, crossed the tracks in front of the locomotive, then started down the other side of the train intending to board the train and leave Monico,

Sandowski, however, crawled under the train as soon as it stopped, picked up a large rock and lay in waiting near the coach steps.  When Singer attempted to board the train, Sandowski jumped up and struck him, the rock hitting the back of Singer’s head.

The injured man was brought to the Rhinelander hospital, while Sandowski fled.  Singer lived 12 days after the attack, passing away here in the hospital.

On December 8, 1915, Hans Rodd, then sheriff in Oneida county, and Officer Otto Olson of Laona co-operated to bring about the arrest of Sandowski, alias Wolfe, at Laona,

Sheriff Rodd brought Sandowski back to county on December 9, 1915.  It was just one week after Sheriff Rodd had been shot in the shoulder by burglars who had looted the Soo railway station here and Red Donahue’s store at Starks.  Sandowski was handcuffed to the sheriffs wounded arm, and brought back here.  The burglars who shot Rodd later were caught at Marinette.

Sandowski was convicted in Oneida circuit court and sentenced by Judge A.H. Reid to serve seven years in Waupun prison.  He was charged with manslaughter.

Officer Olson’s latest bit of helping Oneida county officers was in a non-support case recently, the Laona officer picking up a man who was wanted here.

Officer Otto K. Olsen - Laona, Wisconsin