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Deputy Sheriff William Henry Rafford | Suffolk County Sheriff's Office, New York Suffolk County Sheriff's Office, New York

Deputy Sheriff

William Henry Rafford

Suffolk County Sheriff's Office, New York

End of Watch: Wednesday, December 16, 1903

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 48

Tour: 15 years

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Shotgun

Offender: Not available

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Deputy Sheriff William Rafford was shot and killed when he went to the home of a man to serve a civil court summons. Deputy Rafford entered the suspects home and presented him with a court summons. The suspect went into another room and when he returned he shot twice and killed Deputy Rafford with a double barreled shotgun.

The suspect then dragged the body of Deputy Rafford outside. When other deputies arrived, the suspect refused to surrender. All the windows of the suspects home were broken by Deputies in an effort to freeze the suspect out. After an overnight standoff, the suspect surrendered. The suspect was later judged to be insane by the Lunacy Commission and sent to the Matteawan State Hospital for Insane Criminals.

Deputy Rafford had served with the agency for 15 years and also served as the warden for the county jail at the time of his death. He was survived by his wife and three children.

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I heard the story on many occasions about my great great grandfather's bravery and courage and how his 15 year old son, my Pop, had to quit school and get a job to support the family. Most of the family moved to Delaware in the 1940's and I met many of them when I was a young boy in the 50's.

Michael Betteridge
great great great grandson
April 30, 2015


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