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Correction Officer Joseph F. Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Texas

Correction Officer

Joseph F. "Joe" Wilkerson

Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Texas

End of Watch: Monday, April 23, 1906

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 51

Tour: Not available

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire (Accidental)

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The Texas Prison System operated a railroad between an iron ore bed and the furnace at the prison in Rusk in Cherokee County. The train left the prison with 24 guards and 149 convicts at about 6:30 a.m. Shortly after leaving the prison one of the convicts uncoupled the two rear railroad cars which quickly started dropping behind the rest of the train. The engineer was ordered to stop the train. Two convicts jumped from the train and ran towards the woods. Fifteen to twenty guards opened fire on them. When the smoke cleared they discovered that Officer Joe Wilkerson, was killed and another officer, Will Lloyd, was slightly wounded. One convict was killed and one wounded. The officers were accidentally shot in the confusion.

Justice T. H. Findley conducted an inquest. The judge concluded that: “I find from the evidence that deceased, Joe Wilkerson, came to his death from a pistol shot wound from a pistol in the hands of Jim Bell, a guard at the prison, while trying to prevent the escape of a State convict, and that the killing was purely accidental.” Guard Bell was discharged by the prison system.

Wilkerson was survived by his wife and four small children. He is buried in the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Rusk, Texas

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Rest in Peace Corrections Officer Joe Wilkerson. Thank You for your Service and Sacrifice Protecting the citizens of The Great State of Texas.

I Pray that the hounds of hell forever gnaw at the flesh of the convicts responsible for your death.


Senior Special Agent B.L. Sherwood (Ret)
Port Terminal Railroad Police Houston, Texas
April 23, 2016


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