Deputy Sheriff Allen Heldon Finch

Deputy Sheriff Allen Heldon Finch

Jackson County Sheriff's Office, Florida

End of Watch Thursday, July 4, 1963

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Allen Heldon Finch

Deputy Sheriff Allen Finch and Deputy Sheriff Aaron Creel were Shot and killed by a prisoner in Jackson County Hospital. The suspect, under a life sentence for robbing a service station in Marianna, set fire to a mattress in his cell. He and three other prisoners were taken to the hospital for minor burns. Deputy Finch escorted the suspect to the rest room where he gained control of Deputy Finch's weapon and shot and killed him. He then walked to a nearby room and shot Deputy Creel twice in the head as he was guarding the prisoners. He then shot and killed an innocent bystander.

The suspect walked out of the hospital and forced a couple to drive him away in their car. He released his hostages near Donalsonville, Georgia, but kept their car. Later in the day the suspect was sighted and chased by two Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents near Smithville. They cornered him near a school where he jumped out and grabbed a 14 year old boy. With a gun to the boy's head he forced the agents to surrender their weapons. He then took the boy; the agents weapons; and their car.

The suspect drove a few miles away; stopped at a house and shot through the front door when the home owner refused to open it. He then fled on foot with the boy to a nearby pecan grove as Georgia State Troopers arrived on the scene. In an exchange of gun fire Trooper C.H. Bentley was shot in the head. Another trooper, 200 yards away, shot the suspect through the chest with a 30-30 rifle. He fell to his knees still holding his gun, pointed at the boy's head. The boy quickly picked up another gun that the suspect had dropped and shot him several times.

Deputy Finch was survived by his wife and child.


  • Age 42
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Shot and killed

Most Recent Reflection

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The Sheriffs of Florida and their deputies will never forget the sacrifice you and your family made to uphold our laws and protect society.

Your name has been inscribed on the Florida Sheriffs and the National Law Enforcement Memorial and in our hearts. May you forever rest in peace.

A scripture inscribed on the Florida Sheriffs Law Enforcement Memorial:

"Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called the children
of God." Matthew 5:9

Executive Director Steve Casey
Florida Sheriffs Association

August 27, 2016

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