Patrolman Earl Wesley Phillips, Sr.

Patrolman Earl Wesley Phillips, Sr.

Harrison County Road Patrol, Mississippi

End of Watch Monday, February 19, 1973

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Earl Wesley Phillips, Sr.

Patrolman Earl Phillips was shot and killed after stopping a juvenile he observed speeding in a suspicious car on Landon Road north of Gulfport, Mississippi.

At the time of the murder, the suspect was AWOL from the U.S. Army. He had returned to his home county and was staying with his parents. Prior to the murder, he had been told Deputy Phillips had been asking about a vehicle that matched the description of the one the suspect was driving. The suspect told several people if he came into contact with Deputy Phillips or any other officer, he would kill him.

On the day of the murder, Deputy Phillips was on patrol and passed the suspect, who was driving the suspicious vehicle. Deputy Phillips turned around and began pursuit of the suspect, which ended when the suspect wrecked his vehicle.

Deputy Phillips came upon the crash, exited his patrol car, and went to check on the suspect. The suspect exited the overturned vehicle and shot Deputy Phillips in the abdomen once with a shotgun loaded with #1 buckshot. Deputy Phillips, who was unarmed at the time of the incident, died at the scene.

The suspect, 17, fled in the patrol car and made his way back to his parent's house. He was arrested there by officers a short time later and confessed to the murder after being encouraged to do so by his father. He was sentenced to life in prison. He was paroled on June 9, 1982. On June 29, 1986, he robbed a taxicab driver in Biloxi. In 1987 he was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to 25 years.

Deputy Phillips was a United States Army Reserve WWII and Korean War veteran and had served with the Harrison County Highway Patrol for 20 years. He was survived by his wife, son, grandson, brother, and sister.


  • Age 56
  • Tour 20 years
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Paroled in 1982

juvenile offender, vehicle pursuit

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Patrolman Phillips,
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 for our Country as well when you served with the U.S. Army during World War II and the Korean War. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

February 19, 2023

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