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Kentucky Officers

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Officer Down Memorial Page

1858
July 10, 1858, City Marshal Joseph Beard of the Lexington Police Department was stabbed to death after arresting a street brawler. The suspect threw Beard to the ground and then stabbed him in the chest, puncturing his lung and heart and dying at the scene. Bystanders were able to subdue the man and took him to the Fayette County Jail. A short time later an angry mob stormed the jail, removed the prisoner, and attempted to hang him from the second floor of the nearby courthouse. The rope broke when they pushed him from the window and his head was crushed on the pavement below. Another rope was located and his body was then hung from the window for several hours. Marshal Beard was survived by his wife and four children.


1878
Lewis CountyJanuary 7, 1878, Deputy John Ruggless was shot and killed near Concord while he and a posse attempted to apprehend one of two brothers who was wanted for stealing horses. The brothers were also part of a larger feud between two families that had left several members of each family dead over several years. When the Sheriff received word that the man had returned to Lewis County he immediately gathered a posse and went in search for him. When he located the man the suspect opened fire, striking Deputy Ruggless in the chest. The suspect was shot and wounded but was able to escape. He was eventually apprehended but acquitted after the trial was moved to another county. The man was eventually killed as part of the ongoing feud. 


1882
June 24, 1882, James B. Day of the Frenchburg Police Department, was shot and killed while by a group of men who were upset with Marshal Day over an arrest of several friends the previous evening. One of the man attempted to get Marshal Day’s attention by stepping into the roadway and yelling as loud as he could. When the marshal stepped from his store to ask the man to keep quiet the man pulled a pistol and shot him twice in the abdomen. Despite the wounds, Marshal Day drew a knife and stabbed the suspect six times, killing him. Two of the man’s relatives then shot Marshal Day four more times, killing him. Both men fled but were apprehended and charged with Marshal Day’s murder.


1884
August 16, 1884, Special Deputy Sheriff George Cassell of the Fayette County Police Department, was shot and killed while searching for two men who escaped from the state penitentiary. The sheriff was notified after the two men had been spotted several miles from Lexington walking along Tate’s Creek Pike. The sheriff deputized several citizens to accompany him as a posse to arrest the two men. As the posse closed in on their position, the men ran into a cornfield to hide. Three of the posse member, including Special Deputy Cassell, followed their tracks through the corn but were suddenly ambushed. Special Deputy Cassell was shot twice and killed. The other posse members returned fire and then retreated from the cornfield. The entire posse then began proceeding through the cornfield. When they encountered the subjects a second time the posse opened fire, killing both men. Special Deputy Cassell was survived by his wife and nine children.

August 19, 1884, City Marshal Jesse Offut of the Franklin Police Department, was shot and killed as he and the city’s deputy marshal accompanied a prisoner to a local saloon. They had arrested the man for drunkenness and agreed to let him go to the saloon to secure a bondsman. As they walked along the street the prisoner fell back a few steps before pulling out a gun and opening fire. Marshal Offut was struck three times in the back and fatally wounded. The deputy marshal returned fire and wounded the suspect before taking him into custody.

November 17, 1884, Police Officer James Edgar, of the Covington Police Department, Police Officer James Edgar succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained four days earlier, when he and his partner attempted to arrest five men they had discovered burglarizing a grocery store. When the burglars were discovered, they attempted to flee and a shootout ensued between them and the two officers. Officer Edgar was struck once in the abdomen. He was taken across the street to a doctor’s home and then taken to his home where he remained until he died. Officer Edgar was a Union Army veteran of the Civil War and had served with the Newport Police Department for only 11 months. James was 37 and was survived by his wife and five children.


1886
August 2, 1886, Casey County Deputy Sheriff Charles Tucker was shot and killed while attempting to break up a disturbance between two opposing factions on Election Day. He was attempting to separate two men when one of them pulled away and suddenly shot him. The man was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to two years in prison. While awaiting an appeal he escaped from jail and fled to Missouri. He remained in
Missouri for 27 years until being located. He was arrested and returned to Kentucky to fulfill his sentence.


1888
May 12, 1888, Officer Thomas Dolan of the Lexington Police Department was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a drunk man in a stable on North Mill Street.


1889
October 23, 1889, Town Marshal W.T. Williams of the Trenton Police Department was shot and killed by a suspect whom he was serving a notice on for disorderly conduct. The suspect fled after murdering Marshal Williams but was eventually apprehended. On November 23, 1889, an angry mob took the suspect from the county jail and lynched him as he awaited trial.


1891
September 13, 1891, Sheriff John McCargue of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department was assassinated by two brothers as he was putting his horse in his stable. Upon hearing the shots, his wife and daughter ran out to the stable and saw the brothers running away with pistols in their hands. Both were captured a short time later. Three days later an angry mob seized the suspects from the county jail and hanged them both from a near-by sycamore tree. Both suspects denied killing the sheriff, and protested their innocence to the last.

November 21, 1891, Deputy Sheriff John W. Altrip, Knott County Sheriff’s Department, was shot and killed while attempting to take a pistol away from a man who was attending a corn-husking party near Hindman. Several men were arrested and charged in connection with the murder. Just before their trial started in June 1892 someone attempted to burn down the county courthouse in order to destroy the case records.


1893
Hopkinsville police DepartmentSeptember 6, 1893, Officer R.H.West of the Hopkinsville Police Department, was shot and killed by a fellow officer whom he had reported for drinking on duty. The subject who shot him was also shot and killed. Officer West had served in the Georgia infantry and was predeceased by his wife and son. He is buried in Glenwood Cemetery, Elkton, Todd County, Kentucky. He was 46 years old.


1896
April 25, 1896, Harrodsburg Police Officer John Russell, was shot and killed by a man he was attempting to arrest for being drunk and disruptive on Main Street in front of the Mercer National Bank. When told he was under arrest, the suspect went for his gun. As Officer Russell tried to subdue him, the suspect shot him. The police chief, who was rushing to assist, barely escaped being shot as he felled the suspect with his cane. He was taken into custody and charged with Officer Russell’s murder.

November 3, 1896, Patrolman Aquilla White of the Owensboro Police Department, was shot and killed during a period of civil disorder. A man grabbed his service revolver and shot him. The suspect was arrested a few days later in Louisville. A month later, a mob seized the suspect from the Owensboro jailor at gunpoint and hanged him.


1897
Hopkinsville police DepartmentMarch 13, 1897, Officer Henry Layne of the Hopkinsville Police Department was shot and killed by a drunk and disorderly man. Officer Layne had told the man to stop gambling and to go home but the man suddenly pulled out a gun and shot him. Two other officers at the scene returned fire and killed the suspect.

May 22, 1897, Health Officer, John J. Sullivan, of the Lexington Police Department, was accidentally shot and killed when another officer’s service revolver from his pocket and discharged. The accident occurred as several officers were speaking in the police station. As one of the officer’s stood from his chair his pistol fell and discharged when it struck the ground. Officer Sullivan had served with the Lexington Police Department for 14 years and was assigned to supervise the Health Department. He was survived by his mother and several brothers.

November 2, 1897, Deputy Tes Deakins, of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a politician who had ambushed a rival politician earlier in the day. As Deputy Deakins attempted to make the arrest, the man and several members of his group opened fire on him, fatally wounding him. Two of the suspects were killed by return fire. One of the men who shot Deputy Deakins had shot and killed Chief Jerry Lee, of the Frankfort Police Department, on September 18, 1882. The man had been acquitted of Chief Lee’s murder and was set free. Deputy Deakins was survived by his wife and three children.


1899
December 12, 1899, Town Marshal, T. Edward Park, ended his watch in Irvine County. Marshal Park was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a man who was creating a disturbance. Despite being mortally wounded, Marshal Park was able to return fire and wounded the subject. He was Kentucky’s last fallen Officer in the 19th Century.


 

1900
Letcher County Sheriff BadgeJanuary 30, 1900, Deputy William S. Wright was shot and killed from ambush by two members of the Ku Klux Klan. Deputy Wright was targeted because of his involvement with quelling a Klan war that had erupted in the county. He had also assisted with protecting a woman and her son who had been beaten and robbed by members of the KKK. Both suspects were convicted of his murder and sentenced to life in prison. Deputy Wright had served with the agency for only three months. He was survived by his wife and 11 children. Deputy Wright’s son, William Wright, was shot and killed in the line of duty on April 11, 1901, while also serving with the Letcher County Sheriff’s Department. 

November 15, 1900, Officer John Horan, of the Louisville Police Department, was killed instantly when he was thrown from his horse at the intersection of 30th and Walnut Streets and suffered a broken neck. He and another officer were en route to their post at 28th and Chestnut Streets when the accident occurred. Officer Horan had served with the agency for seven years. He was survived by his wife and four sons.


1901
July 22, 1901, Deputy Sheriff Richard Read of Hardin County’s Sheriff Department, was shot and killed by a man disturbing the peace at a public picnic. When ordered to be quiet, the suspect drew a revolver and shot him twice. A citizen, who witnessed the shooting, returned fire, seriously wounding the suspect. The suspect was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life on November 16, 1902. Later that same day an angry mob seized the suspect from the Hardin County Jail and hanged him from the nearest tree.


1902
November 8, 1902, Marshal Nicholas Hopperton of the Independence Police Department, was shot and killed by a man he was attempting to throw out of town for being drunk. As the marshal escorted the man to the town line the man suddenly opened fire with his shotgun, striking Marshal Hopperton in the stomach. As Marshal Hopperton fell he fired two shots from his revolver, wounding the suspect. The suspect and Marshal Hopperton then fired at each other again. Marshal Hopperton was fatally wounded. The suspect was seriously wounded, but recovered from his wound. He was tried for Marshal Hopperton’s murder but was acquitted at trial after claiming self defense. Marshal Hopperton had served with the agency for one year and was 35 years old. He was survived by his expectant wife and child.

November 13, 1902, Deputy Nick Bodkin of the Kenton County Sheriff’s Office, was shot and killed as he and another deputy attempted to break up a disturbance at a local saloon across the street from the Covington police station. A Covington policeman had become intoxicated and started a quarrel with two patrons of the saloon. As Deputy Bodkin and the other deputy attempted to separate the group, the policeman pulled out his gun and opened fire, fatally wounding Deputy Bodkin and wounding the second deputy. The policeman was arrested and charged with murder. Deputy Bodkin was 41 years old.


1909
November 19, 1909, Patrolman William Murphy, of the Louisville Police Department, was shot and killed while investigating the sounds of gunfire near 19th Street and Baird Street. He was off duty and in the area when he heard the shots and went to investigate. When he arrived at the scene he located a shooting victim and was told that the shooter, the victim’s neighbor, had just entered his house. When Patrolman Murphy went to the suspect’s door and identified himself the man shot him, fatally wounding him. The suspect was apprehended but had his case dismissed on the technicality that Patrolman Murphy had no right to enter his home. William was 30 years old and had been with the agency for six years.


1910
June 5, 1910, Patrolman William C. Sube of the Louisville Police Department, died after contracting tetanus as a result of wound received while on patrol. He was checking on a building, proceeding down a staircase, when the staircase collapsed. As a result of the fall, Patrolman Sube received a large splinter in his hand. The wound caused him to contract tetanus which he died of five days later. Patrolman Sube had been with the agency for one year.

November 10, 1910, Jailer Wesley Turner, of the Breathitt County jail was shot and killed by a man who held a grudge against him following a stint in the county jail. Jailer Turner was walking up the street with acquaintances when he encountered the man. The subject took the weapon of a friend and opened fire on Jailer Turner, killing him. The suspect fled the area while being pursued by a large posse. He was shot and killed by the posse after being located in Knott County.


1911
May 7, 1911, John Austin Robey Lebanon Police Department was stabbed to death while attempting to quell a disturbance in the Baptist Alley section of town. He was attacked by two men, one whom held him as the other stabbed him 19 times. The two men fled the scene but were both apprehended later in the day. One of the suspects was convicted of Policeman Robey’s murder and executed in the electric chair on July 8, 1911. He was the first person to die in Kentucky’s new electric chair. Policeman Robey was survived by his wife.


1912
Harlan County SheriffJuly 6, 1912, Harlan County Deputy Sherriff Neil Christian succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained two days earlier when he was shot by a man seeking revenge against the deputy. The suspect’s brother had been shot and killed by Deputy Christian the previous month as he attempted to arrest him. The brother shot Deputy Christian in the same store in which his brother had been killed. Deputy Christian was taken to the hospital in Pineville where he remained until succumbing to his wound two days later.

November 7, 1912, Deputy Sheriff Edward Neece from the Bell County Sheriff’s Department was shot and killed at Brownet’s Creek while attempting to serve a warrant. The suspect was wanted for selling illegal liquor.


1914
August 23, 1914, Town Marshal John Collins, of the Berea Police Department was shot and killed as he and a county constable searched for several men suspected of stealing chickens. They had approached a family that included a father and three sons after learning they were nearby. As the officers stopped their buggy they were immediately fired upon. Marshal Collins was struck in the head by a shotgun blast and the constable was struck in the leg. The family fled the scene. The father and all three sons were arrested a short time later. Two of the sons were convicted of manslaughter. One was sentenced to 21 years and the other to seven years in prison. Marshal Collins was 35 and survived by his wife.


1915

November 12, 1915, Officer Rufus A. Beagle, 52, of the Cynthiana Police Department, was shot and killed by a drunken man after responding to a public disturbance call. The suspect was arrested, convicted of murder, and sentenced to life. Officer Beagle had served with the Cynthiana Police Department for seven years. He was survived by his wife and three children.


1919
July 21, 1919, Constable William Layer of the Madison County Constable’s Office, succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained the previous day while quest questioning a man who had threatened a boy. The boy was threatened after his hogs had gotten into the man’s nearby cornfield. The man told the boy if he didn’t remove the hogs within five minutes he would kill him. As Constable Layer attempted to talk to the man he was immediately shot. Despite being mortally wounded, he was able to return fire and killed the subject.


1921
July 23, 1921, Deputy Sheriff Green Watkins of the Breathitt County Sheriff’s Office was shot and killed as he and a posse searched for a still. The posse was ambushed by several moonshiners. Deputy Watkins and a 14-year-old boy were killed and another deputy was wounded in the shootout. Two men were eventually arrested and charged with murder, but several trials ended in hung juries and it is unknown if they were ever convicted. The primary suspect in Deputy Green’s murder was located by a posse along Ball’s Creek, in Perry County, on March 1st, 1922. He was shot and killed when he opened fire on the officers.


1922
March 6, 1922, Sheriff John T. Roach, of the Graves County Sherriff’s Department, was shot and killed by a former deputy who was upset that he was not appointed to another term by the sheriff. The former deputy, after learning that other deputies had been sworn in on the first day of the circuit court session, went to the sheriff’s office and confronted him. After a brief argument the former deputy retrieved his pistol from a safe. As the sheriff took a step towards him he was shot several times and killed. The suspect was taken to a jail in a neighboring city to prevent a mob from attacking him. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to seven years in prison. Sheriff Roach was a veteran of WWI. He was survived by his wife Lois, daughter, and five brothers. After many consultations and against the deciding judge’s inclination, Lois Roach was soon appointed the first women sheriff in Kentucky.


1923
June 22, 1923, Deputy Sheriff Bill Atkins of the Bell County was shot and killed from ambush as he returned to his home, near Four Mile, following his shift guarding a local mine. Two men, who were brothers, were seen running from the scene and arrested a short time later. Deputy Atkins had shot and killed the men’s nephew several months earlier while attempting to arrest him and it was believed they shot him in revenge. Both men were charged with murdering Deputy Atkins. One was later acquitted. The outcome of the trial for the second suspect is not known. Deputy Atkins was survived by his wife and several children.


 


1925
July 15, 1925, Patrolman Jim C. Clem of the Poor Fork Police Department was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a man who was wanted in connection with a disturbance. Two of the suspect’s brothers were shot and killed during the ensuing search for the man. On September 2, 1928, several officers in Letcher County went to the man’s home in search for him. While inside, Deputy Sheriff Joner Cornett was shot and killed. No one witnessed the shooting in which Deputy Cornett was killed and the suspect was able to escape unseen. Approximately two months later the subject was located a moonshine still and killed in a shootout with deputies. Patrolman Clem was survived by his wife. Poor Fork was renamed to Cumberland in 1926.

November 14, 1925, Sheriff Joe Morgan, of the Leslie County Sheriff’s Office, was shot and killed in Hyden by a local prominent citizen over an election dispute. The suspect barricaded himself in the Citizens National Bank as fighting broke out among local citizens, some who wanted to lynch the suspect, others who considered him a hero for killing the sheriff. The Governor called out the Kentucky National Guard who restored law and order and arrested the suspect. Sheriff Morgan was 48 years old.

November 20, 1925, Deputy Will Pace was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a known bootlegger at Wilson-Berger, Kentucky. The man had brought a load of moonshine into the town and boasted that he was going to bring another load in that night. Deputy Pace, overhearing the man, told him if he brought it he would be arrested. When the man appeared at the foot of the mountain with the next load Deputy Pace attempted to arrest him. Deputy Pace and the suspect were both killed in the ensuing shootout. Deputy Pace’s brother, Deputy Harve Pace, was fatally wounded in the line of duty only two weeks later while also serving with the Harlan County Sheriff’s Office.


1926
November 4, 1926, Chief of Police Tom Blackburn of the Garrett Police Department was shot and killed after responding to a home where a group of drunk men were involved in a large brawl. When he arrived at the house he was told the trouble was at a nearby home. As he turned to leave to investigate the other house he was shot in the back. Several officers from Prestonburg responded to the scene and were engaged in a shootout with the suspect, who was fatally wounded.

Lee-Hagan Nelson DeputyDecember 15, 1926, Nelson County Deputy Sheriff Lee Hagan suffered a fatal heart attack while searching for stills in the Balltown area of Nelson County. He was assisting federal revenue agents as they searched the woods looking for suspects. Deputy Hagan had served with the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office for 24 years. He was survived by his wife and three children.


1927
October 9, 1927, William Lou “Bill” Osborne of the Martin Police Department and his 17-year-old son were shot and killed by a man who was seeking revenge against the chief for a previous shooting. The chief had shot and wounded the suspect’s uncle the previous week while attempting to arrest him. The man went to Chief Osborne’s home and opened fire without warning, killing Chief Osborne and mortally wounding his son. Despite the wound, he was able to return fire and fatally shot the suspect. Chief Osborne was 50 years old and was survived by his wife and 12 children.


1928
November 6, 1928, Deputy Sheriff James Owens of the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department was shot and killed after breaking up a fight between two juveniles at a local school, while keeping the peace during an election. As Deputy Owens escorted one of the boys off of the premises the boy’s father hit him over the head with an iron rod. After falling to the ground, Deputy Owens drew his weapon and shot the suspect. Another man then grabbed the gun from Deputy Owens and fatally shot him. Deputy Owens had served with the agency for 2 years. Owens was 46 years old and was survived by his wife and seven children.

AJ

AJ

Will

Will

November 22, 1928, Will Thornbserry, Knott County Constable and his cousin, Justice of the Peace AJ Thornsberry, were shot and killed from ambush while on their way to destroy a moonshine still near Prestonburg. The suspect was convicted of the murders and served two years in the Kentucky State Penitentiary. Will was 38 years of age.

 


1929
April 22, 1929, Prestonsburg’s Chief of Police John Hunley, was shot and killed when he attempted to arrest three drunk men who were causing a disturbance. Two of the men were apprehended, convicted of murder, and sentenced to life. Chief Hunley was survived by his wife.


1931
August 15, 1931, Deputy Sheriff Oza Bentle Moore, of the Lewis County Police Department, was killed in a motorcycle accident while en route to serve a warrant. His motorcycle collided with a bus near Irontown. Deputy Moore had served with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Department for 1 year. He was 28 years old and was survived by his wife and two children.

November 5, 1931, Deputy James W. Hogue, of the McCreary County Sheriff’s Office, was shot and killed after making an arrest while raiding a liquor still with two other deputies. The man they arrested was granted permission to go into his home to obtain some tobacco. When Deputy Hogue escorted the man inside, the man’s son emerged from another room and opened fire with a shotgun, killing the deputy. The 18-year-old suspect was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 21 years in prison. Deputy Hogue had served with the agency for 2 years. He was a widower and was survived by his eight children. He was 41 years of age.


1933
June 12, 1933, Breathitt County Deputy Sheriff James Marshall was shot and killed while walking a prisoner to the county jail in Jackson, Kentucky. He encountered a group of men on a bridge, who shot him and then fled. His prisoner was also killed by the gunfire. It is believed that Deputy Marshall was shot in revenge and the prisoner was an innocent victim of the attackers. Deputy Marshall was survived by his wife.

November 25, 1933, Detective William D. Wood of the Louisville Police Department was shot and killed while on an undercover narcotics operation on 7th Street near Walnut. He and his partner were sitting in an unmarked patrol car attempting to identify and arrest drug abusers. A man who was high was looking for a dope dealer with the last name Woods. Patrolman Wood was pointed out to the suspect as being Woods. The man went up to the car and shot Detective Wood without warning. Detective Wood was the first black police officer with his agency to be murdered in the line of duty. Detective Wood was 48 and had been with the agency for 11 years.

james claxtonDecember 23, 1933, Deputy Game Warden James Claxton was shot and killed in Carroll County at 1:00 PM on a Saturday. He and two other wardens served a warrant on a fisherman for using a double wing net in the KY River, violation of state game laws. When the wardens entered the man’s house boat, the man said he would kill Claxton. The man picked up a double barreled shotgun and pointed it at the officers. Warden Claxton opened fire on the man, missing but wounding his son. The subject fired his shotgun, striking Warden Claxton. Despite being mortally wounded, Claxton  proreturned fire and seriously wounded the subject. Deputy Claxton was survived by his wife, two young children, and mother.  Reference: Officer Down Memorial Page


1936

August 9, 1936
, Harvey Calvin DeZarn, Chief of Police of Manchester was shot and killed in front of the city jail at approximately 11:00 pm. He was leaving the jail after investigating a disturbance between prisoners when he was struck by a shotgun blast fired from across the street.


1937
June 28, 1937, Patrolman Bert Hampton of the Louisa Department, succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained the previous evening while attempting to arrest a drunk driver at the intersection of Perry Street and Jefferson Street. The driver of the truck had driven onto the railroad tracks and was attempting to get unstuck when Patrolman Hampton happened across the scene. After determining that the driver and passenger were both drunk he advised them they were under arrest. As he walked around the truck the passenger followed him and opened fire with a .45 caliber handgun. Patrolman Hampton returned fire after falling to the ground, wounding the suspect. He was then taken to a local hospital where he died early the next morning. Both suspects fled, but were later apprehended. The passenger was charged with murder. The 40-year-old passenger was convicted of murder and sentenced to life. Patrolman Hampton was a U.S. military veteran. He was survived by his wife, six children, and mother.

August 3, 1937, Officer Frederick F. Barton of the Louisville Police department was accidentally shot and killed by another officer who was attempting to clear his jammed firearm. The officers were at the firing range when a sergeant’s gun failed to fire. The Sergeant went to the locker room where sixteen other recruit officers including Officer Barton were waiting for their turn on the firing line. The Sergeant was dismantling his gun to remove the cartridge which failed to fire. While doing this, the cartridge did fire and the bullet struck Officer Barton. He died at City Hospital from a bullet wound to the left side in front and below his left arm pit. Officer Barton had been with the agency for only 19 days and was in the middle of his academy training.

August 22, 1937, Levi Hall, McDowell’s Chief of Police was shot and killed by a suspect who held a grudge against the chief for an incident earlier in the night. The chief had encountered the man in town and sent him home for being drunk. The man was heard saying he would get revenge against the chief. After going home he obtained a 16-gauge shotgun and drove through town. He located Chief Hall and opened fire from his car, striking him in the abdomen. The suspect was later arrested in Boulder, Colorado. Chief Hall was 45 and was survived by his wife and four children.


1940
MHarlan County Sheriffarch 20, 1940, Harlan County Deputy Sheriff Joseph Pruitt was beaten to death while attempting to arrest a fugitive who had escaped from the State Prison Farm at LaGrange. Deputy Pruitt encountered the man at a hobo camp near a set of railroad tracks he was patrolling in Harlan. The man attacked him and beat him to death. The subject was later arrested by state patrolmen in Corbin. It is believed that he was acquitted of the murder charges, but returned to prison on larceny charges. He escaped from prison a second time in September 1945. Deputy Pruitt was 54 and left behind his wife.

April 28, 1940, Breathitt County Deputy Jailer, Benton Sizemore was shot and killed while responding to the scene of a shooting involving the county jailer. The county jailer and his wife were visiting relatives when a truck full of assailants pulled up and opened fire on them, fatally wounding the jailer. The jailer and one of the occupants had been involved in an argument earlier in the week. Deputy Jailer Sizemore was on duty at the jail when he was notified of the incident. He and another person started towards the shooting scene when they encountered the suspects coming towards them. The suspects opened fire on them, fatally wounding Deputy Jailer Sizemore. Five suspects were eventually taken into custody in connection with the murders.

1942

Patrolman Hedgepeth

Patrolman Hedgepeth

Thomas W. Kinney

Patrolman Kinney

February 10, 1942, Patrolman Thomas W. Kinney was struck and killed by a drunk driver at 1915 hours while attempting to keep fire lanes open, in downtown Louisville, for apparatus responding to a three-alarm fire. While on the scene a drunk driver entered the area at a high rate of speed. A fellow officer, Patrolman James Hedgepeth, attempted to flag the driver down but instead the man drove over him, dragging him over a fire hose and down the street. Patrolman Kinney witnessed the incident and charged towards the vehicle. The driver struck and killed Patrolman Kinney. Patrolman Hedgepeth succumbed to his injuries two days later. Both men were officers of the Louisville Police Department.


1943
November 27, 1943, Deputy Charlie Ramsey, Rockcastle County Sherriff’s office, succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained 10 days earlier while investigating a disturbance in Mt. Vernon. A soldier, who was home on furlough, became involved in an argument on a public street. A third man walked up and took sides against the soldier. As Deputy Ramsey approached the group, the third man suddenly pulled out a .32 caliber revolver, shot the soldier, and then shot Deputy Ramsey. Despite being wounded, Deputy Ramsey was able to subdue the suspect. Deputy Ramsey was taken to a hospital in London, Kentucky, where he underwent surgery. It was believed he would recover from the wound, however, he contracted pneumonia and died as a result. Deputy Ramsey was 42 and survived by his mother, five sisters, and three brothers.


1949
sandlin2May 29, 1949, Medal of Honor recipient Willie Sandlin passed away. Mr. Sandlin was born in Buckhorn, KY in Perry County and was a soldier in the United States Army who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during World War I. Sandlin single-handedly destroyed three German machine gun emplacements and killed twenty-four of the enemy on September 26, 1918, at Bois de Forges, France. Sandlin returned to Eastern Kentucky and bought a farm on Owls Nest Creek near Hyden. Sergeant Sandlin, 59, died of a lingering lung infection resulting from a poison gas attack on his company in the Battle of the Argonne. He is laid to rest in Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville. 


1950
September 19, 1950, John Walton Collier, from Worthington, KY, died in South Korea, during the Korean War and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions. While engaged in an assault on a strategic ridge strongly defended by the enemy, his company encountered intense automatic weapons and grenade fire. Corp. Collier and 3 comrades moved forward to neutralize an enemy machine gun position which was hampering the company’s advance, but they were twice repulsed. On the 3rd attempt, Corp. Collier, despite heavy enemy fire and grenade barrages, assaulted and destroyed the machine gun nest, killing at least four enemy soldiers. As he returned down the rocky, fire-swept hill and joined his squad, an enemy grenade landed in their midst. Shouting a warning to his comrades, he, selflessly and unhesitatingly, threw himself upon the grenade and smothered its explosion with his body. 

baugh-colorNovember 29, 1950, 20 year old, PFC William B. Baugh, from McKinney, KY., unmindful of his own personal safety, hurled himself upon a grenade, thereby saving his peers from serious injury or possible death. For these Korean War actions, PFC Baugh received the Medal of Honor, military’s highest award. In addition to the Medal of Honor, PFC Baugh posthumously received the Purple Heart Medal. He previously held the Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Occupation Service Medal with Europe Clasp, Korean Service Medal with three bronze stars, and the United Nations Service Medal. The U.S. Navy also honored PFC Baugh by naming a Strategic Sealift Ship in his memory.  Sealift ships supply all military branches around the globe.


1963
May 26, 1963, Kentucky State Trooper William Everett Tevis was shot and killed while off-duty and riding with another trooper. The other trooper had just arrested a man and and his wife. The wife was able to slip the man a handgun from her purse. He then shot and killed Trooper Tevis. The other Trooper returned fire and killed the suspect. Trooper Tevis had served with the agency for 4 years. He was survived by his wife and three young sons.


1965
July 8, 1965, Kentucky State Police Trooper Delano G. Powell was shot and killed when he responded to a complaint of a man shooting a shotgun at his residence in Breathitt County. The suspect, who was hiding in an outbuilding shot Trooper Powell twice in the chest as he got out of his car. Minutes later he shot and wounded another trooper as he arrived on the scene. A Breathitt County deputy was able to pull Trooper Powell to his patrol car and began to transport him to a hospital. He was met by an ambulance and Trooper Powell was transferred to it but succumbed to his injuries before reaching the hospital. The suspect was apprehended by state troopers and deputies after a three hour standoff. He was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Trooper Powell had been employed with the Kentucky State Police for 18 months and is survived by his wife and 3-year-old-son.

1966
November 26, 1966, Sheriff Walter Emery Meek of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, was shot and killed while attempting to serve a lunacy warrant on a mentally deranged man along Route 23 behind the Paul B. Hall Medical Center. The subject committed suicide after murdering Sheriff Meek. In addition to serving as sheriff, Sheriff Meek was also a well known barber in Paintsville. He was 28 and was survived by his wife and two daughters.


1967
February 6, 1967, Adairville Chief of Police, Cloyd Aubrine Charlton was shot and killed by a man whom he had issued a traffic ticket several days earlier following an accident. The man had been ticketed for driving without a Kentucky operator’s license. After being ticketed the man threatened Chief Charlton’s life. Several days later Chief Charlton observed the man driving again and attempted to stop him. The man refused to stop and was chased to his farm. As Chief Charlton exited his patrol car the suspect fired at him, fatally wounding him. The man then shot him again with a different gun, and shot his patrol car with a shotgun. The man was taken into custody after his wife called the county sheriff to report the incident. Chief Charlton was survived by his wife.


1971
W H BarrettDecember 19, 1971, Trooper William Harrel Barrett was shot and killed in an ambush at his home by an unknown suspect. Barrett, 35, had just completed a 4 p.m.-to-midnight shift at the Bowling Green Post and had backed into the driveway outside his residence off Russellville Road in Rockfield. As he stepped out of his car, someone emerged from around a building next to Barrett’s residence and shot the trooper twice, once in the right shoulder and once in the stomach. The shooter fled the scene after ducking through a gap in a fence line and are still wanted. Trooper Barrett was survived by his wife and two sons.


1973
July 20, 1973, Denver Earlington Tabor, Conservation Officer for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, drowned while attempting to rescue a boy who had fallen overboard from a boat in the Ohio River, near Dam 40. Officer Tabor had served with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources for eight years. He was survived by his wife, daughter, son, mother, and two siblings.


1976
October 16, 1979, Daniel Lee Hay of the Maysville Police Department, was shot and killed while investigating a burglary at a grocery store. The suspect fled the store through an air duct. His killer was captured, convicted and sentenced to 40 years. The suspect served 22 years of the 40 year sentence before being paroled in 2002. Patrolman Hay was 22 years old and had served with the Maysville Police Department for 18 months. He was survived by his parents.


1985
July 5, 1985, Patrolman William R. Burns from the Radcliff Police Department was overcome by gas fumes while attempting to rescue a sewer department employee. The employee was trapped in an underground lift station. Patrolman Burns and another worker were both overcome while attempting to rescue the man. Patrolman Burns had served with the Radcliff Police Department for 10 years and was survived by his wife.


1988
Joseph Matthew Angelucci

November 23, 1988, Fayette County Deputy Sheriff, Joseph Matthew Angelucci succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained three weeks earlier, while he attempted to serve a warrant. In loving memory we mourn with appreciation.

 

Johnny M. EdringtonDecember 21, 1988, Kentucky State Trooper, Johnny Edrington was shot and killed during a traffic stop on Highway 80 outside London. Trooper Edrington’s body was found in a ditch with a gunshot wound to his head. The shot had been fired with his own service weapon. The suspects are still at large. Trooper Edrington was survived by his wife and daughter. Born in Campbellsville and in honor of his service and sacrifice, US 68 in Taylor county has been designated the Trooper Johnny M. Edrington Memorial Highway. 


1989
October 14, 1989, Patrolwoman Regina Woodward Nickles of the Harrodsburg Police Department was shot and killed while investigating a suspicious person in the parking lot of an automotive store. She and her partner were approaching the suspect when he turned and fired at them. Patrolwoman Nickles was struck twice in the neck, killing her instantly. Other officers on the scene were able to return fire, severely wounding the suspect. Patrolwoman Nickles was the department’s only female police officer and was running for Sheriff of Mercer County. She was 45 years old and is survived by her two children.