Marshal Neal Fowler was killed about 3:00am on December 6th, 1938 as the result of a running gun battle between Fowler and 19-year-old Rex Bush of Mentone, IN.
Bush had robbed the Freeman Billings gas station and garage on McPherson Highway in Clyde,
taking 5 gallons of gasoline for the stolen vehicle he was driving and 73 cents from the attendant 18 year old James Billings, who he told to stay away from the phone for ten minutes as he left.
After Billings called Clyde and Fremont Police, Officer Fowler responded to the garage and was interviewing Billings when Bush,
who had lost his way and stole two new license plates, drove by the station and Fowler gave chase.
The Bush vehicle and Fowlers patrol vehicle were traveling side-by-side east bound on U.S. Route 20 (McPherson Highway) as shots were fired between the vehicles.
Witness Charles Ross of Green Springs told officers Fowler’s police cruiser slid off the side of the road and he discovered the officer had been shot in the face.
Sandusky County Coroner D. W. Philo later advised Fowler had been shot in the face with a 16-gage shotgun killing him instantly.
Rex Bush continued eastbound and was stopped by 39 year old Bellevue Police Officer Harry Andrews, whom Bush also attempted to shoot but his weapon malfunctioned.
Later the Bellevue Police found out Bush had shot Officer Fowler.
Rex Bush was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in the Ohio Penitentiary.
Governor James A. Rhodes later commuted his conviction to second degree murder. He was paroled on October 7, 1965.
Officer Fowler’s life and death are remembered each year during the National Peace Officer’s Memorial Week in May,
and his name is etched on the Police Memorial in Washington, D.C. that was dedicated in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush.
Officer Fowler is the first and only Clyde Police Officer to be killed in the line of duty. In 1988, the 50th anniversary of his untimely death,
Chief Daniel E. Weaver dedicated a plaque to Officer Fowler and his family that stands surrounded by brick in the yard of the Clyde Municipal Building.
Rex Bush was released from prison in the 1990’s and would be over 80 years old if he is still alive.