Lenhard, George Anthony
Teacher, Welder, Shop Employee, Police Officer
In the history of Regina, only 2 police officers have ever been killed in the line of duty. The second, Charles Millar, was killed during the Regina Riot. The first, George Anthony Lenhard, was killed 2 years earlier. Lenhard’s death remains unsolved to this day.
George Anthony Lenhard was born in 1905 in Valley City, North Dakota. His family soon moved to Regina, where Lenhard attended Campion College and Normal School. George worked as a teacher, a welder and a shop employee for Eaton’s before joining the police force in 1930.
Law enforcement ran in the family – George’s brother was an RCMP officer. Little wonder then that the athletic George gravitated towards police work. Although he had only been part of the Regina Police Service for 2 and a half years before his death, by all accounts he was an athletic, well-liked and alert officer. He won the Bruton Cup in 1933, an award given to the force’s best shot with a revolver.
Lenhard was working a bicycle-patrol night shift when he was killed. He was bicycling up a cinder path from Winnipeg Street to the railroad tracks when he passed the Canadian Liquid Air plant (Winnipeg & 4th Avenue). Three men were loitering around the back door of the plant. One pulled a gun. The men backed Lenhard up to a brick wall and then fired 3 shots. Lenhard crawled towards the plant door while the assailants ran off. Eyewitnesses ran to get police, but it was too late. A Canadian Liquid Air employee, Lloyd A. Draper, discovered Lenhard in time to hear him whisper 2 words before collapsing. Those last words were the source of much wild speculation but no one was certain what he had been trying to say. He was unmarried at the time of his death and was survived by his parents, 2 sisters and a brother.
Eyewitnesses described the men as shabbily dressed, with the gunman as a well-built man about 6’3” accompanied by 2 shorter and stockier companions. The description was so vague that even the assistance of 100 police officers proved futile. Vagrants were rounded up, roads were blocked off and searches were conducted, all to no avail. A $1000 reward was offered and the CPR and RCMP both sent squads of police to assist, but it made no difference. Lenhard’s assailants were never found and no motive was ever discerned for the murder.
The most likely scenario was that 3 unemployed males were attempting to rob Canadian Liquid Air when Lenhard interrupted them. One man panicked and shot Lenhard. Speculation about the events, however, ranged from dope fiends who shot Lenhard in a narcotized haze to a possible criminal revenge murder.
In the end, Lenhard’s death was not in vain. It led to the decision to allow officers to wear their weapons outside of their tunics. Lenhard had been armed, but his gun was inside his tunic, making it impossible for him to have defended himself under any circumstances.
The Lenhard murder continues to intrigue the public 73 years later. In 1992, Unsolved Mysteries covered the Lenhard murder in one of its episodes. This actually led to a tip from an 81 year old Moose Jaw man who claimed to know the identity of the murderers. Police took a statement, but the tip ultimately came to nothing