On July 27, 1951, Carl Oscar Johnson, Special Deputy Sheriff for Tulare County and a prominent California Hot Springs cattle rancher, was shot by a felony suspect whom he was trying to arrest. The suspect, John Vallier, was believed to have stolen a car belonging to a man in Felton and was hiding in a vacant CA Hot Springs cabin on Carver Ranch.
Johnson and four residents of the CA Hot Springs area drove to the cabin to arrest Vallier. When they got there, Vallier shot Johnson in the shoulder with a .22 caliber rifle, and citizen Oscar Cline responded by wounding Vallier in the arm with the same type rifle. Johnson and the suspect were rushed to the Porterville Hospital and treated by Dr. George Rey, Jr.
The suspect recovered and was released to face felony charges of assault. He was found to be insane in a Superior Court hearing and was transferred to a mental institution. Unfortunately, Johnson’s condition was determined to be critical and his fight for life began. He continued to suffer because the bullet was lodged in a severad artery and nerves in his arm were damaged. On Sept. 17, 1951, he was moved from the Porterville Hospital to one in San Francisco to receive treatment for the injured nerve, which was resulting in paralysis of his arm. Johnson underwent surgery on Sept. 29, and died the next day.
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Johnson had resided in the Porterville area since 1929. Although Johnson had only been a sworn officer for the Sheriff’s Department since May 29, 1951, he was a well-respected rancher in the mountain area as well as a member of Porterville Lodge 303 and of Al Malkai Temple of the Shrine in Fresno. He left behind his wife, Katherine Johnson, two step sons, a brother and a sister.