Town Marshal William H. H. Richards

Town Marshal William H. H. Richards

Cheraw Police Department, South Carolina

End of Watch Friday, March 7, 1884

William H. H. Richards

Town Marshal William Richards was shot and mortally wounded by a man whom he attempted to arrest for being drunk and disruptive.

The suspect resisted arrest, managed to escape, and left town. Two days later the suspect returned and opened fire on the marshal from ambush, striking him in both lungs, as he sat on a box in front of a store. An innocent bystander was also shot and mortally wounded. Marshal Richards died ten days later.

The suspect barricaded himself in his family's plantation home near Cheraw. When the Chesterfield County Sheriff failed to take action, Governor Hugh Thompson ordered the state constable to arrest the suspect. On May 14, 1884, the suspect was shot and killed when he opened fire on a posse that surrounded his home.

Marshal Richards was survived by his wife and three children. He was a Civil War veteran, having served as a lieutenant with the 13th Massachusetts Infantry.

Bio

  • Age Not available
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Saturday, February 23, 1884
  • Weapon Handgun; .38 caliber
  • Offender Shot and killed

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In Honor of your Sacrifice and for your family and friends, I salute you as a HERO!

"The Badge"

He starts his shift each day
To respond to calls unknown.
He drives a marked patrol car.
A police officer he is known.

He's paid by the citizens' taxes
To make it safe on the streets.
But he usually has a second job
'Cause a waitress has his salary beat.

Now he doesn't know a holiday
'Cause he works all year round.
And when Thanksgiving and Christmas finally arrive
At his home he cannot be found.

He's cursed and assaulted often,
The one whose blood runs blue.
He seldom ever gets a thanks,
To some he's just a fool.

His friends are always other cops
'Cause people just don't understand
That underneath his badge and gun,
He's just another man.

He knows there might not be a tomorrow
In this world of drugs and crime.
And he gets so mad at the court system
'Cause the crooks don't get any time.

And each day when he leaves for work,
He prays to God above.
Please bring me home after my shift
So I can see the ones I love.

But tonight he stops a speeding car,
He's alone down this ole' highway.
It's just a little traffic infraction.
He does it everyday.

Well, he walks up to the driver's window,
And his badge is shining bright.
He asked the guy for a driver's license,
When a shot rang through the night.

Yes, the bullet hit its mark,
Striking the officer in the chest.
But the Department's budget didn't buy
Each officer a bullet-proof vest.

So he lay on the ground bleeding.
His blood wasn't blue - His blood was red.
And briefly he thought of his loved ones
'Cause in a moment the officer was dead.

In the news they told the story
Of how this officer had died.
And some who listened cared less,
But those who loved him cried.

Well, they buried him in uniform
With his badge pinned on his chest.
He even had his revolver,
He died doing his best.

Written By:
David L. Bell

Richland County Sheriff's Department
Columbia, South Carolina
Used with Special Permission of the Author
Copyright © 1993 - All Rights Reserved
and may not be duplicated without permission

Investigator David L Bell (Retired)
Richland County Sheriff's Dept., Columbia, SC

January 24, 2011

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