Jacob Chestnut

Jacob Joseph Chestnut (April 28, 1940 – July 24, 1998), one of two United States Capitol Police officers killed in the line of duty on July 24, 1998, was the first African American to lie in honor in the United States Capitol. Chestnut is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. His funeral included a speech by President Bill Clinton and a fly-over by military jets in a missing man formation.

Jacob Chestnut
Officer Jacob Chestnut, USCP
Born April 28, 1940
Died July 24, 1998 (aged 58)
Washington, D.C.
Resting place Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, D.C.
38°52′48″N 77°04′12″W / 38.880000°N 77.070000°W
Relatives Gwenling (wife)
Janet (daughter)
Janece (daughter)
Karen (daughter)
Joseph (son)
William (son)
Awards Law Enforcement Purple Heart
Police career
Department United States Capitol Police
 United States Air Force
Country  United States of America
Allegiance District of Columbia
Years of service 1980–1998
Rank Officer
Memorials Jacob Joseph Chestnut
Post Office Building
11550 Livingston Road
Oxon Hill, Maryland (1998)


Chestnut was on guard at the Document Door entrance to the U.S. Capitol when gunman Russell Eugene Weston Jr. entered. Chestnut, manning a metal detector, was caught unaware when Weston shot Chestnut through the back of the head at point-blank range, killing him instantly.

Chestnut and fellow police officer Detective John Gibson were the only two people killed in the attack. A female tourist suffered minor injuries after bullets grazed her shoulder and face.


Chestnut retired as a master sergeant from the United States Air Force after 20 years of service in the Air Force Security Police. His career included two tours in the Vietnam War.[1]


In 1998, the House of Representatives passed a motion to designate a post office at 11550 Livingston Road in Oxon Hill, Maryland as the "Jacob Joseph Chestnut Post Office Building".[2]

In 2000, the building housing the United States Air Force's 20th Security Forces Squadron at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina was dedicated to Chestnut.

Murder of Jacob Chestnut
Part of U.S. Capitol shooting incident (1998)
Location United States Capitol
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Coordinates 38°53′23″N 77°0′32″W / 38.88972°N 77.00889°W
Date July 24, 1998
3:40 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. (EST)
Attack type
Weapons .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver
Deaths Two: Jacob Chestnut, John Gibson
Non-fatal injuries
Three: Angela Dickerson (tourist), Douglas McMillian (USCP officer), Russell Eugene Weston Jr.
Perpetrator Russell Eugene Weston, Jr.

See also


  1. ^ http://www.vspa.com/t-rip-chestnut-usaf-1998.htm
  2. ^ thomas.loc.gov
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Claude Pepper
Persons who have lain in state or honor
in the United States Capitol rotunda
(with John Gibson)

July 28, 1998
Succeeded by
Ronald Reagan

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