End of Watch: 09/01/1978
Agency: Washington State Department of Corrections
County: Walla Walla County
Lieutenant Roger Sanders succumbed to injuries sustained on August 11th, 1978, when a pipebomb exploded in Washington State Penitentiary’s Department of Education building in Walla Walla.
Officers found the pipe bomb during a routine shakedown and moved it to a control room. It detonated as Lieutenant Sanders attempted to open one of the end caps. Lieutenant Sanders lost both hands and suffered serious injuries to his stomach. Two other officers were also injured. Lieutenant Sanders was transported to a local hospital where he died on September 1st, 1978.
The bomb had been made and placed at the location by prisoners. Two inmates, a rapist and a murderer, escaped after the explosion but officials did not think they were related to it. No one was ever held responsible.