Sheriff Clifton E. Palmer

Sheriff Clifton E. Palmer

Person County Sheriff's Office, North Carolina

End of Watch Friday, February 6, 1970

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Clifton E. Palmer

Sheriff Palmer was shot and killed while responding to backup other deputies attempting to serve mental commitment papers. When the deputies arrived they were met by the suspect who was carrying an axe. They did not attempt an arrest at that time and instead called Sheriff Palmer, who came to the scene. When Sheriff Palmer arrived the man came out of the home with a 12 gauge shotgun. As Sheriff Palmer attempted to calm the man the suspect suddenly raised the gun and shot him in the head, killing him. He then struck another deputy with the butt of the gun before the other officers returned fire, killing the suspect.
Sheriff Palmer was a WWII U.S. Navy veteran of the Pacific Theatre. He had been in law enforcement for 22 years and had been Sheriff for four years. He was survived by his wife and five children.


  • Age 48
  • Tour 22 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Shotgun; 12 gauge
  • Offender Shot and killed

Most Recent Reflection

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Sheriff Palmer,
On today, the 50th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice-not just as a Law Enforcement Officer but also for our Country when you when you served with the USN in the Pacific fighting the Japanese during WW II. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Fair Winds And Following Seas

United States Border Patrol

February 6, 2020

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