September 8, 1921: “Bad Jack” Webb kills three Hibbing Police Officers

On this day on the Range in 1921, John “Bad Jack” Webb killed three police officers in Nelson, Minnesota, just south of Hibbing. Hibbing Chief of Police Daniel Hayes, chief of detective Gene Cassidy, and motorcycle traffic officer William Kohrt were shot by Webb—considered an expert marksman—when they attempted to arrest him at his home on charges of statutory rape. Webb’s 18-year-old son had actually sworn out the warrant against his father, who he accused of sexually abusing his own 13-year-old daughter. (A widower and father of six, Webb was said to have regularly  “terrorized” his children.) Webb started blasting away with a 30-30 rifle as soon as Hayes opened the door to the killer’s house. The chief was “shot through the heart” and died immediately. Webb then turned his weapon on Cassidy, striking him in the heart through the shoulder; Cassidy died within minutes. Webb then shot Korht in the back as he tried to flee; the bullet entered his lung, and he later died of his wounds at the Hibbing Hospital. As many as 1,000 men reportedly joined the manhunt to track down Webb. They raided “every moonshiner’s shack” in a 25-mile radius surrounding Hibbing. On the 11th it was reported that a man fitting his description had been spotted “limping” toward the Canadian border at International Falls. Webb’s body was found on the 16th in a “desolate cabin” near Kittzville shortly after Bad Jack shot himself as his pursuers closed in. His discoverers returned Webb to Hibbing, using wire to tie his body to the bumper of a car like a hunting trophy. Webb was buried without ceremony in the Hibbing cemetery in a “rough box;” no one, not even a clergyman, spoke this burial.

Authorities brought Bad Jack Webb’s body to the North Hibbing Village Hall strapped to the running board of an automobile. According to the Hibbing Historical Society, “Schools were released for the day so that the children could view the body. The family would not claim Webb’s body and he was buried by the county.” Click here to see more photos surrounding this tragedy on the Hibbing Historical Society’s Facebook page. (Image: Hibbing Historical Society)