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Policeman William F. Campbell | Bristol Police Department, Virginia Bristol Police Department, Virginia


William F. Campbell

Bristol Police Department, Virginia

End of Watch: Thursday, July 2, 1908

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 34

Tour: Not available

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Incident Date: 4/29/1908

Weapon: Handgun; Revolver

Offender: Sentenced to 7 years

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Policeman William Campbell was shot and killed when he and two other officers located a man wanted for malicious shooting and bootlegging.

Not realizing they had located the man, the three officers engaged him in conversation. As the man began to walk away, a boy who had been accompanying the officers informed them the man was who they were looking for.

When the officers called out to the man to halt, he immediately began to run away. One of the officers fired at the man, who continued to run. When the man reached the top of the street he turned around and shot at the officers, striking Policeman Campbell in the abdomen.

Policeman Campbell was taken to his home where his condition worsened until he succumbed to the wound on July 2, 1908.

The shooter was able to flee and remained at large for 6 years. He was finally arrested in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in January 1914. He was returned to Virginia where he was convicted of Policeman Campbell's murder and sentenced to 7 years in prison.

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Officer Campbell is my great grandfather. I remember his picture in my grandparents' home when I was a child. The story was that he was shot while trying to catch a criminal. Certainly, being "gut shot" was a terrible way to go. We knew that he was a hero, but some of the other details were not relayed to me or my cousins.

With the recent focus on police brutality, I find it concerning that the suffering and sacrifice of those who gave their lives in police service are somehow relegated to secondary status. That is an injustice. Most recently, a public display at Dartmouth College that honored policemen killed in the line of duty was defaced and removed (without authority) by member of the Black Lives Matter movement. As the parent of a Dartmouth student, I am saddened by these actions. I hope that those who engaged in such behavior are reprimanded. Freedom of speech is a sacred right in this country. Those that seek to restrain the free speech rights of others cannot hide behind the First Amendment to justify their unlawful actions.

Officers like William Campbell, who gave their lives in the line of duty, deserve proper respect and dignity. Those who seek to protest may do so, but such protest cannot include defacement or destruction of authorized recognitions of those lives lost while serving their fellow man.

John G. McJunkin -- great grandson
May 16, 2016


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