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Deputy Sheriff Henry Pratt | Tazewell County Sheriff's Office, Illinois Tazewell County Sheriff's Office, Illinois

Deputy Sheriff

Henry Pratt

Tazewell County Sheriff's Office, Illinois

End of Watch: Friday, July 30, 1869

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 27

Tour: 3 years

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Shotgun

Offender: Paroled

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Deputy Henry Pratt was shot and killed while attempting to arrest horse thieves.

Deputy Pratt led a posse consisting of three law enforcement officers from Pekin to Circleville, Illinois, to serve warrants for solicitation to commit a larceny on two known gang members. Arriving just at dusk on East Street in the small village, the posse encountered the gang walking from a saloon. When ordered to halt, the two wanted men started a running shootout. One suspect jumped over a split-rail fence, turned and rested his shotgun on the top rail and shot Deputy Pratt at point-blank range with the shotgun. A second shot wounded another deputy and during the confusion of trying to stop the bleeding on the wounded deputies, members of the gang escaped.

Over 500 men immediately formed posses and rounded up the gang, taking them to the jail in Pekin. During the night, over 300 men attacked the jail and after a deadly struggle, hauled the suspect's brother out onto the jail house lawn and hanged him from the limb of an oak tree. Only the intervention of a city marshal stopped the mob from lynching the rest of the gang. All members of the gang were convicted and sentenced to prison terms. The suspect who fired the fatal shot was sentenced to 25 years in prison and served 18 years before being paroled.

Deputy Pratt had served with the Tazewell County Sheriff's Department for three years. He was survived by his brother, the sheriff of Tazewell County.

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