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Deputy killed in 1924 honored

Posted: October 6, 2013 9:49 a.m.
Updated: October 6, 2013 9:49 a.m.

The first Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s deputy to be killed in the line of duty was honored last year at a celebration marking the 40th anniversary of the local Sheriff’s Station.

Deputy Constable J. Edward Brown, who was gunned down on Sept. 14, 1924, was remembered with reverence, a color guard and the unveiling of a plaque on the station’s memorial wall, set alongside Santa Clarita Valley’s three other deputies who also made the “ultimate sacrifice.”

News of Brown’s heroism came to light when newspaper clippings were found in a scrapbook kept by one of Brown’s friends, said Deputy Michael Fratantoni, who was presented a plaque for his research efforts.

A newspaper account published by The Signal on Sept. 19, 1924, plus accounts from other newspapers, provided details of Brown’s last moments, he said.

Brown was shot and killed by Gus LeBrun, described as a jealous man distraught over his dealings with local woman Bonita Darling, The Signal reported 88 years ago.

On Sunday, Sept. 14, 1924, at 9:30 a.m., Brown and his partner, Constable Jack Pilcher, drove to Darling’s ranch to arrest LeBrun.

LeBrun fired a shotgun blast that ripped through the backseat of their car, narrowly missing Pilcher’s head, The Signal reported.

Both lawmen rolled out of the car and shot the gunman.

LeBrun told the lawmen as he lay on the ground: “You’ve got me boys; I’ll quit.”

Brown and Pilcher went in to make the arrest.

“The officers had escaped injury so far, and walked over to where LeBrun lay crumpled on the ground his hands clasping his body.

“As they stooped to lift him up, he suddenly jerked a large revolver from beneath his jacket and fired two shots, one at each officer — quick as a flash both officers fired, and it was the finish for LeBrun.

“Brown clapped his hand to his side, remarking, ‘Well, Jack, he got me that time.’”

The wall-mounted plaque honoring Brown was unveiled in 2012 beside similar plaques honoring the area’s three other heroic lawmen: Deputy Arthur Pelino, killed March 19, 1978; Deputy Hagop Kuredjian, Aug. 31, 2001; and Deputy Randy Hamson, Oct. 24, 2008.

News of Brown’s heroism eclipsed a recap of the Sheriff’s Station provided by Capt. Paul Becker.
The station officially opened its doors at Magic Mountain and Valencia Boulevard on May 8, 1972.

This story first appeared in The Signal on June 29, 2012.


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