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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, as well as the first person overall (along with his colleague John Gibson), to lie in honor in the United States Capitol[1]. 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.jpg
Born(1940-04-28)April 28, 1940
DiedJuly 24, 1998(1998-07-24) (aged 58)
Resting placeArlington National Cemetery, Washington, D.C.
38°52′48″N 77°04′12″W / 38.880000°N 77.070000°W / 38.880000; -77.070000
RelativesGwenling (wife)
Janet (daughter)
Janece (daughter)
Karen (daughter)
Joseph (son)
William (son)
Police career
Country United States of America
Allegiance District of Columbia
Department United States Capitol Police
 United States Air Force
Service years1980–1998
RankPolice Officer/Master Sergeant (E-7) U.S Air Force
AwardsLaw Enforcement Purple Heart
MemorialsJacob 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 him in 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.[2]


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".[3]

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)
LocationUnited States Capitol
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Coordinates38°53′23″N 77°0′32″W / 38.88972°N 77.00889°W / 38.88972; -77.00889
DateJuly 24, 1998 (1998-07-24)
3:40 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. (EST)
Attack type
Weapons.38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver
DeathsTwo: Jacob Chestnut, John Gibson
Three: Angela Dickerson (tourist), Douglas McMillian (USCP officer), Russell Eugene Weston Jr.
PerpetratorRussell Eugene Weston, Jr.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ ""Lying in State or in Honor"". US Architect of the Capitol (AOC). Retrieved 2018-09-01.
  2. ^
  3. ^
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