Officer James William Bailey

Officer James William Bailey

Asheville Police Department, North Carolina

End of Watch Tuesday, November 13, 1906

James William Bailey

Officer James Bailey was shot and killed while searching for a suspect who had just murdered Officer Charles Blackstock and three other men without provocation. Officer Bailey ran across the suspect in the street and a gunfight ensued in which Officer Bailey was shot in the head.

When Officer Bailey located the suspect he attempted to take cover behind a utility pole. The suspect's shot went through the pole and struck Officer Bailey.

The man fled but the Governor of North Carolina mobilized the local National Guard company to assist in the search for the killer. The city organized a posse to pursue the suspect and was loaned rifles from Finkelsteins pawn shop downtown. The killer was tracked down and was shot and killed in a shootout with posse members two days later when they trapped him in a swamp outside Asheville.

At the time of the two officers' murders, the city of Asheville did not issue firearms to officers. As a result of the murders of Officers Blackstock and Bailey, the City of Asheville began purchasing each officer a .32 caliber revolver with a box of cartridges.

It was later discovered that the suspect was Will Harris, one of North Carolina's most notorious outlaws. He had escaped from two different chain gangs and had rescently escaped from the state penitentiary in Raleigh where he was serving a sentence for killing a man because he refused to share his whiskey with him. There was a book written about him entitled "The Will Harris Murders", by Bob Terrell.

Officer Bailey was survived by his wife and three children.

Bio

  • Age 32
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Rifle
  • Offender Shot and killed

Most Recent Reflection

View all 6 Reflections

You were my great-grandfather. It fills me with pride the ultimate sacrifice you made to keep the citizens of Asheville safe. You son grew up to be an outstanding man, and your two grandsons (one of them my father), went on to serve in WWII and be wonderful examples to their own families. God Bless You!

Robin Bailey Benoit
Great-Granddaughter

July 12, 2015

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