Oran Pape (Oran Henry Pape)

Oran Pape

Oran Pape was appointed to the newly formed Iowa Highway Patrol (later Iowa State Patrol) in August 1935, one of the first men to become an officer in the Patrol. On April 28, 1936, Pape was patrolling U.S. Highway 61 near Muscatine, Iowa. He noticed a car that had been reported stolen. After pulling the car over, Pape approached the car. The driver, Roscoe Barton, pointed his gun at Pape and ordered him into his car. Barton drove away with Oran Pape as his hostage. A short while later, Pape saw an opportunity to overpower Barton, and the two began struggling. During the struggle, Barton was shot in the head, and Pape was shot in the abdomen. Both men were taken to Mercy Hospital (now Genesis Medical Center) in Davenport. Barton died from his injuries soon after arriving at the hospital. Pape was treated for his gunshot wound, however his condition eventually took a turn for the worse. Doctors were unable to transfuse blood into him because of his collapsed veins. Pape died at 2:40pm on April 30. He was buried at Linwood Cemetery in Dubuque. His badge number 40 was retired from service.

Oran Pape’s murder is one of the main reasons the Patrol began the practice of “cross drawing” guns. In this practice, officers wear their guns opposite their strong arm. In theory, an officer would be able to hold on to a person with their strong arm and be able to draw their weapon at the same time. This practice is no longer used, with troopers now carrying their sidearms on their strong side. The I-80 bridges over the Cedar River in Cedar County, Iowa, are named in his honor (Trooper Oran Pape Memorial Bridge).


  • March, 10, 1904
  • USA
  • Wahpeton, Iowa


  • April, 30, 1936
  • USA
  • Davenport, Iowa

Cause of Death

  • gunshot wound

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