Deputy Sheriff Theron Anthony Burnham

Deputy Sheriff Theron Anthony Burnham

Polk County Sheriff's Office, Florida

End of Watch Friday, January 9, 1981

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Theron Anthony Burnham

Deputy Burnham was shot and killed with his own weapon after being dispatched to investigate a suspicious person walking on a roadway near Lakeland Airport at 4:00 am. Unbeknownst to Deputy Burnham, the man had just committed two murders earlier in the evening and was under the influence of narcotics at the time. Other responding deputies exchanged gunfire with the suspect, who evaded capture until a manhunt the next day.

The suspect was sentenced to death after three trials.

Deputy Burnham had served with the agency for 9 years. He was survived by his wife.


  • Age 27
  • Tour 9 years
  • Badge 137

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Sentenced to death

Most Recent Reflection

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Rest in peace deputy Sheriff Burnham.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

January 9, 2019

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