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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Our History

John R. Foster

Name:  John Ruskin Foster

Date of Birth:  1899

Date of Death:  05/14/1936

Location of Death:  St. John Lake, IN




Special Agents John Foster and Guy Goodin were working a special assignment near St. John Lake, IN.  During a pursuit of a suspicious black Ford coupe, the suspect vehicle turned off the highway and drove down a dirt road.  The agents followed, but as they came upon the vehicle, one of the two suspects opened fire with a rifle, seriously wounding Agent Foster in the chest.  They then fled. Agent Goodin rushed him to St. Margaret's Hospital in Hammond, but Agent Foster died enroute.

A massive investigation subsequently identified two bootleggers, James Jacobs (aka: James Jones) and Harlan Crouch as the prime suspects in the killing. Jacobs was quickly arrested by Prohibition Agents and admitted that he and Crouch had been transporting 200 gallons of liquor in their car from Chicago Heights to Indianapolis.  They decided to ambush the agents because they could not get away from them.  Jacobs identified Crouch as the shooter. Crouch was captured by agents and police in Chicago several weeks later and also admitted to shooting and killing Agent Foster.


Agent Foster joined the Alcohol Tax Unit on 1/21/1935.


Agent Foster was born in Marion, IN.  He was survived by his father, R. J. Foster.