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Patrolman Ralph East | Pilot Mountain Police Department, North Carolina Pilot Mountain Police Department, North Carolina


Ralph East

Pilot Mountain Police Department, North Carolina

End of Watch: Monday, February 3, 1969

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 60

Tour: Not available

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Handgun; .22 caliber

Offender: Died in prison

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Officer East and Officer Branscome were killed when they stopped a vehicle occupied by four men wanted for armed robbery. The suspects had robbed two Forsyth County service stations, one in Winston-Salem, the other in Rural Hall. One suspect used a 22 caliber pistol to shoot both officers, then obtained Officer East's service weapon (38 caliber) and shot each officer again. The suspects were arrested in Winston-Salem a short time later.

The gunman was convicted of two counts of murder and received two death sentences on November 21, 1969. His sentence was commuted to two life prison sentences when the Supreme Court ruled all death sentences unconstitutional in 1972. He died in prison December 14, 2011.

The other three suspects received 10 years each for accessory to murder and an additional 30 to 40 years for armed robbery on November 21, 1969. One of the three was released from prison on July 18, 1985. Another one was released on November 24, 1992, and sent back to prison for 10 years on June 5, 2001, for armed robbery.

Officer East was survived by his five children.

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Related Line of Duty Deaths

Patrolman Glenn L. Branscome
Pilot Mountain Police Department, North Carolina
End of Watch: Monday, February 3, 1969
Cause: Gunfire

View all 10 Reflections

Most Recent Reflection

I was a little girl in my dad's restaurant in Pilot Mtn. and you were the very first customer I ever waited on. You asked for coffee and when I asked you what you wanted in it, you said "Just coffee". I looked at you with a confused expression on my face and my mom said, "he'll put what he wants in it". You left me a dollar tip for that cup of coffee and I have never forgotten. You have always been in my thoughts and I will never forget the love and compassion you showed you fellow man. Rest in Peace and know that you will never be forgotten

Lu Ann Cox
Joe's Sandwich Shop, Pilot Mtn. NC
February 21, 2013


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