Patrolman Wister Lee Reece

Patrolman Wister Lee Reece

North Carolina Highway Patrol, North Carolina

End of Watch Tuesday, November 5, 1957

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Wister Lee Reece

Patrolman Wister Reece was shot and killed in Richmond County after stopping the driver of a vehicle for speeding on U.S. 220 near Ellerbe.

After the shooting, the suspect fled but was later pulled over by Patrolman James Brown in Lee County. During that stop, the suspect also shot and killed Patrolman Brown. The vehicle, later found to be stolen, was being driven by a New York state mental hospital escapee. The escapee was en route to Mississippi to attempt to break his brother out of death row.

Three weeks later the suspect was captured in Bakersfield, California. Since his escape a month earlier, it was discovered that he was involved in numerous burglaries in Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina.

He was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to two life terms on March 19, 1958. The suspect, who was North Carolina's oldest and longest-serving inmate, died in prison on July 21st, 2012. He was 90 years old.

Patrolman Wister Reece was a U.S Army Air Corps veteran of WWII and served with the North Carolina Highway Patrol for ten years.

A section of U.S. 74 near Hamlet, North Carolina, was renamed in honor of Patrolman Reece. He is buried in Eastside Cemetery, Rockingham, Richmond County, North Carolina.


  • Age 39
  • Tour 10 years
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Died in prison

EDP, escapee, stolen vehicle, traffic stop

Most Recent Reflection

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I was a young girl and the Reese family was in my church. I will always remember hearing about his death and felt so sorry for his pretty wife and young children.

Linda Wilson Ward
Church member

July 12, 2021

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