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Constable John Johnson Fleming | Panola County Constable's Office - Precinct 8, Texas Panola County Constable's Office - Precinct 8, Texas

Constable

John Johnson Fleming

Panola County Constable's Office - Precinct 8, Texas

End of Watch: Sunday, September 8, 1929

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 37

Tour: 8 months, 1 week

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Handgun

Offender: two convicted and one never apprehended

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A church was having their annual revival and several hundred people were gathered. Precinct 8 Constable John J. Fleming lived about 250 yards from the church. Around 6:00 p.m. Constable Fleming and two friends went to the church to see if they needed any beef since the revival was to run all week. Andrew Castleberry began speaking loudly and apparently was intoxicated. Constable Fleming noticed that Castleberry was carrying a pistol. The constable motioned for Castleberry to come over, and said to him, “you seem to be feeling pretty good but you had better give me that gun.” Fleming reached out his left hand and took hold of the handle of the pistol and Castleberry stepped backward, wrenching the pistol from Constable Fleming. Castleberry raised the pistol and attempted to fire, but Fleming was faster and drew his pistol and shot Castleberry two times in the head. Castleberry lived about an hour.

Andrew's brother, Walter Castleberry, walked up and shot the constable through the forearm. The bullet ranged down into Fleming's lower bowels. Charley Thompson then shot the constable from behind. The bullet went through his shoulder and into his heart. Constable Fleming emptied his pistol at his assailants as he fell, wounding two bystanders. Albert McDowell grabbed a board and struck the constable several times after he fell on the ground. Constable Fleming died at the scene.

The sheriff arrested Robert Castleberry, the father of Andrew and Walter, and his other sons David, Ned and Will, and Charley Thompson. Walter Castleberry and Albert McDowell fled the scene. Thompson was sentenced to 99 years in prison. McDowell was apprehended in 1940 and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Walter Castleberry was never apprehended.

Constable Fleming was survived by his wife and three children. He was buried in the Clayton Cemetery. He had been the elected constable for only 8 months.

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To fully appreciate the heroes of the present, we must recognize our heroes of the past. Your heroism and service is honored today, the 85th anniversary year of your death. I am priviliged to be among the first to leave a tribute to you. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer who was murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered. Rest In Peace.

Phyllis Lasater Loya
mom of fallen Pittsburg (CA) officer Larry Lasater
May 1, 2013

 

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