Type of Officer: Deputy Sheriff
Jurisdiction: Brown County
Death Date: 3/1/2000
Added to Memorial: 2000
Circumstances of Death: Gunshot
During the early evening of March 1, 2000, Brown County Deputy Sheriff Todd Widman responded to a report of a transient walking along U.S. Highway 73 northeast of Hiawatha. Not finding anyone at that location, he continued patrolling the Hiawatha area. An hour later, he located an individual matching the earlier description walking east on Oregon Street in Hiawatha. Believing the young man to be a runaway juvenile, Deputy Widman placed the youth in the front seat of his canine cruiser. While en route to the Sheriff’s Department, the sixteen-year-old juvenile removed a handgun from his duffel bag and shot Deputy Widman multiple times. Deputy Widman managed to get out of the patrol car and radio a distress call before collapsing in a resident’s driveway near 12th and Oregon St. Emergency medical personnel took Deputy Widman to Hiawatha Community Hospital where he died of his wounds a short time later. Nearly three hours after the shooting, following a manhunt by several police agencies, the suspect was shot and killed after firing upon officers just west of Hiawatha. Deputy Widman, a lifelong Brown County resident, was twenty-one years old and a junior at Washburn University seeking a degree in criminal justice. He had worked for the Brown County Sheriff’s Department for nearly two years as a reserve officer and part-time deputy. He is survived by his mother and stepfather Brenda and Dean Wenger and his sister Jill Widman.