Patrolman Wister Lee Reece

Patrolman Wister Lee Reece

North Carolina Highway Patrol, North Carolina

End of Watch Tuesday, November 5, 1957

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Wister Lee Reece

Patrolman Wister Reece was shot and killed in Richmond County after stopping the driver of a vehicle for speeding on U.S. 220 near Ellerbe.

After the shooting, the suspect fled but was later pulled over by Patrolman James Brown in Lee County. During that stop, the suspect also shot and killed Patrolman Brown. The vehicle, later found to be stolen, was being driven by a New York state mental hospital escapee. The escapee was en route to Mississippi to attempt to break his brother out of death row.

Three weeks later the suspect was captured in Bakersfield, California. Since his escape a month earlier, it was discovered that he was involved in numerous burglaries in Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina.

He was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to two life terms on March 19, 1958. The suspect, who was North Carolina's oldest and longest-serving inmate, died in prison on July 21st, 2012. He was 90 years old.

A section of U.S. 74 near Hamlet, North Carolina, was renamed in honor of Patrolman Reece. He is buried in Eastside Cemetery, Rockingham, Richmond County, North Carolina.


  • Age Not available
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge 39

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Died in prison

EDP, escapee, stolen vehicle, traffic stop

Most Recent Reflection

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I remember trooper Reece very well. I was in the same grade as one of his daughters. I think we were in the 7th grade at the time. Trooper Reece was a well respected trooper in the county and was liked by the community.


May 16, 2018

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