Slain ‘Onion Field’ Police Officer Honored with Freeway Signs

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HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (KTLA) — On the 50th anniversary of the killing of LAPD Officer Ian Campbell, whose story was immortalized in the book and movie “The Onion Field,” signs were placed along the Hollywood Freeway in his name.

Campbell and his partner, Karl Hettinger, were abducted from the corner of Carlos and Gower in Hollywood, as they were assigned to a plainclothes detail in 1963.

Two ex-convicts — Gregory Powell and Jimmy Lee Smith — confronted the officers, who were both former Marines, at gunpoint and took them to a remote area in southern Kern County.

There Campbell was shot and killed.

Hettinger managed to avoid numerous gunshots, escape from the men and summon help.

Powell and Smith were both arrested in the days that followed and Powell was eventually convicted in Campbell’s murder.

Saturday also marked the opening of an exhibition at the Los Angeles Police Museum commemorating the event.

Jim Nash reports.

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