Patrolman Lawrence M. "Bud" O'Neal

Patrolman Lawrence M. "Bud" O'Neal

Doerun Police Department, Georgia

End of Watch Tuesday, April 7, 1959

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Lawrence M. "Bud" O'Neal

Patrolman Lawrence O'Neal was shot and killed by one of five suspects who were planning to rob a local bank.

In preparation for the robbery the five went to the police station in order to tie Patrolman O'Neal up to prevent him from responding to the robbery. Patrolman O'Neal resisted their efforts and began struggling with the men. One of the men obtained his service revolver and shot him. The suspects placed Patrolman O'Neal's body in one of the jail cells, where it was discovered the following day by another officer reporting to duty. The suspects fled the scene without ever having robbed the bank.

On May 2, 1961, Four 47, 49, 53, and 61 were apprehended in Columbus. All four were charged with Patrolman O'Neal's murder. On July 10, 1961, all four were convicted of murder and sentenced to life. The fifth suspect, 42, who said he was the gunman, was in federal custody in Springfield, Missouri. He was to stand trial for murder with the others, but was too sick with tuberculosis. He was eventually sent to prison where he died on May 31, 1967.

On July 12, 1968, the youngest of the four was grabbed by three fellow inmates, doused with lighter fluid, and set on fire. Four days later he died from his burns as he was being interviewed at a hospital in Augusta by Governor Lester G. Maddox. The inmate was to be released soon, after it was discovered he did not participate in Patrolman O'Neal's murder, but was in the get-away car the entire time. Another of the five escaped on June 2, 1968, and was captured on March 15, 1971. The oldest of the five was paroled on August 9, 1968, and died five months later.

Patrolman O'Neal, a widower, was survived by his five children.


  • Age 56
  • Tour 10 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Sentenced to life


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Rest in peace Patrolman O' Neal.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

April 22, 2020

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