Montana Law Enforcement Museum

212 E. Broadway
Philipsburg, MT 59858
(406) 859-6536

Undersheriff Otto S. Fossen

Liberty County Sheriff's Department

Department Patch

Undersheriff Otto Fossen was shot and killed by a hitchhiker he had picked up. Donald L. Bujok, age 21, of Roundup, Montana stole a car east of Chester and proceeded to flee west on Highway 2. Local law enforcement had been alerted and as Sheriff Dodd Keith was setting up a roadblock, Undersheriff Otto Fossen drove to Joplin to investigate a car stopped on the highway. The events of Undersheriff Fossen's attack is unclear since there were no witnesses, but it was confirmed that Undersheriff Fossen was shot five times in the neck and body and managed to get off two shots as he attempted to subdue the attacker. The suspect managed to escape in the Undersheriff’s car and proceeded west at a high rate of speed. Undersheriff Fossen was still alive when local residents found him and took him directly to the hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. The suspect continued to flee, but left the car in a field and continued on foot. A manhunt was organized and approximately 200 volunteers searched the area. After an exhaustive search the suspect, Bujok, surrendered. A disassembled revolver was found in his hiding spot, and after an x-ray cartridges were found in his intestinal tract. When the cartridges were recovered and examined by forensics the evidence was conclusive that he had been wounded by Undersheriff Fossen's weapon. Bujok was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

End of Watch:
October 5, 1957