Date: Wednesday, June 2, 2021
Victoria, BC – Today, VicPD officers and staff remember Cst. Johnston Cochrane, a VicPD Constable who was killed in the line of duty on or around June 2nd, 1859. Cst. Cochrane is the first law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty in B.C., a murder which remains unsolved.
Cst. Johnston Cochrane came to Victoria with his wife and children from Ireland, through the United States. In early June of 1859, he was given a warrant to serve on a suspect for pig theft. At that time officers were normally unarmed, save for a wooden baton. Cst. Cochrane signed out a firearm as this file was considered a dangerous duty. He departed, on foot, and headed to the Craigflower Farm area. This was the last time he was seen alive.
When Cst. Cochrane failed to return, search parties were launched. His body was found near Craigflower Road. Cst. Cochrane had been shot twice and his service pistol was missing.
Despite an arrest two days later, no one was convicted of Cst. Cochrane’s murder. His widow received a small “public subscription”, as pensions were unknown at that time. Cst. Johnston Cochrane was buried at the Old Burying Grounds, which is now Pioneer Park. His gravesite is unmarked.
Today, we remember Cst. Johnston Cochrane.