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Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty Shared a Remarkable Common Denominator

Updated on October 2, 2019
Gerry Glenn Jones profile image

My main career of employment was in Law enforcement, in which I ultimately would hold certifications in three states. This is my true story.

The Remarkable Fatal Incidents Begin

Being a former police officer with 28 years of experience in three states (Mississippi, Tennessee, and Missouri), I was a colleague of numerous officers who were killed in the line of duty.

One of the most notable things was, how many officers, who originally worked in Lee County, Mississippi were killed from 1989 to 2013. During this 24-year period, seven officers, who were working, or had worked in Lee County, succumbed to on-duty assaults, which resulted in their deaths. This does not cover multiple officers in other departments, killed during the same incident. Here they are in the order of their deaths.

 Law Enforcement Explores' wreath at the National Law Enforcement Memorial, in Washington D.C.
Law Enforcement Explores' wreath at the National Law Enforcement Memorial, in Washington D.C. | Source

A Tribute to Verona Chief of Police, Bill W. Yant

Chief of Police, Bill Yant of the Verona, Mississippi Department was shot and killed during a traffic stop on Friday, January 6, 1989. He was attempting to serve a warrant on an occupant of the vehicle for threatening phone calls. The Chief was shot 13 times by the assailant.

I had worked with, and for Bill Yant on two different occasions at the Verona Police Department. Potts Camp Police Chief, Joe Thomason, who was later killed in the line of duty, had also worked with, both, Chief Yant and I at Verona P.D, in the past. Chief Yant was 50 years old and had served as a police officer for at least 15 years.

End of Watch Friday, January 6, 1989

Verona Police Department Patch
Verona Police Department Patch | Source

Tribute to Potts Camp Chief of Police, Joe M. Thomason

Police Chief, Joe Thomason of the Potts Camp Police Department, was the next to die of a gunshot to the head when he made a traffic stop on a reckless driver, who had once been a friend of his son, in Verona, Mississippi, and who had spent several nights at his home.

Chief Thomason was 48 years of age and had served in law enforcement for at least 14 years. End of Watch Saturday, May 8, 1993



Potts Camp Police Patch
Potts Camp Police Patch | Source

A Tribute to Shannon Chief of Police, Bobby Spencer

Shannon Chief of Police, Bobby Spencer was shot to death on Saturday, January 18, 1997, as he was walking from his car, through the parking lot of the police department at Shannon, Mississippi, which is located in Lee County.

His death appeared to be a planned assassination for unknown reasons. No suspects were ever charged in his death. Bobby was 58 years old, with a 23-year history in law enforcement.

Chief Spencer's tour of duty ended on Saturday, January 18, 1997.


A Tribute to Lee County Deputy, Casey R. Harmon

Lee County, Deputy Jailer, Casey Ryan Harmon was shot and killed by a 16-year-old juvenile who was preparing to be released from the Lee County Juvenile Detention Center Monday, March 2, 1998, when he pulled a hidden gun and shot the unarmed, 20-year old deputy. The juvenile had only been charged with shoplifting.

Casey, who grew up in a law enforcement family, from Chickasaw County, Mississippi, loved his career, which ended much too soon. He had been with the Lee County Sheriff's Department for three months. His tour of duty ended, Monday, March 2, 1998.


Shannon Police Department Patch
Shannon Police Department Patch | Source
Lee County Sheriff's Department Patch
Lee County Sheriff's Department Patch | Source

A Tribute to Long Beach Police Officer, Jim Northcutt

Long Beach Mississippi Police Officer Jim Northcutt, who had previously worked for the Tupelo Police Department from 1991 to 1997, was shot and killed when he and officer, Steve Morgan, who was also killed and a third officer, who was wounded, responded to a domestic violence call on Wednesday, May 6, 1998.

Officer Northcutt was 54 years old and had been a law enforcement officer for 33 years. End of watch Wednesday, May 6, 1998.



Long Beach Police Department Patch
Long Beach Police Department Patch | Source

A Tribute to Lee County Sheriff, Harold Ray Presley

Lee County Sheriff, Harold Presley was shot and killed by a kidnapping suspect, whom he and other officers located in a building after a pursuit. It was approximately 5:15 a.m. when he was shot. The suspect was also shot by Presley and died at the scene,

Sheriff Presley was a cousin to the late, Elvis Presley, and had been with the Lee County Sheriff's Department for 13 years, with the last eight, serving as the sheriff. He was 53. His end of watch was Friday, July 6, 2001.


Lee County Sheriff's Department Patch
Lee County Sheriff's Department Patch | Source
Tupelo Police Department Patch
Tupelo Police Department Patch | Source

A Tribute to Tupelo Police Sergeant, Keven G. Stauffer, Jr.

Tupelo Police Sergeant, Gale Stauffer was shot and killed as he and two other officers responded to a bank robbery in Tupelo. The shooting occurred near the intersection of South Gloster and Main Street, at approximately 3:00 p.m. on December 23, 2013. The suspect who killed Stauffer and wounded another officer was later shot and killed by a police officer in Phoenix, Arizona.

Sergeant Stauffer was 38 years of age and had been a police officer for 9 years. His end of watch was Monday, December 23, 2013.


A Sad but Heroic Tribute

There is so much more that can be written about these officers, including their family information, as well as more details on their deaths, but the purpose of this article was to let the public and other officers see that seven officers had a common denominator; they either were working for or had worked for the Lee County Sheriff's Department or municipalities within lee County.

I salute each of them!

References

Clarion Ledger
https://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/local/2017/06/08/police-chief-killed-2-decades-ago-still-not-memorial-wall/101545324/

Enforcement Officers Memorial
http://names.lawmemorial.org/officers/t/joe-m-thomason.html

© 2019 Gerry Glenn Jones

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    • Gerry Glenn Jones profile imageAUTHOR

      Gerry Glenn Jones 

      18 months ago from Somerville, Tennessee

      Thank you, Pamela, these officers were just some that I knew. These were all from Lee County, Mississippi. I also worked for St. Louis County Police Dept. and Memphis and lost friends there also. God has kept me alive for some reason!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      18 months ago from Sunny Florida

      It is heartbreaking when any police officer gets killed. I appreciate your article telling details about all of these officers. I am sure it is hard for you to find out an officer you worked with was murdered and I wish things were different in our country.

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