Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty Shared a Remarkable Common Denominator
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
Enforcement Officers Memorial
© 2019 Gerry Glenn Jones