Chief of Police Robert Elonzo Sparks

Chief of Police Robert Elonzo Sparks

Oxford Police Department, Alabama

End of Watch Friday, May 7, 1948

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Robert Elonzo Sparks

Chief of Police Robert Sparks was shot and killed, and an officer assisting him was critically wounded while attempting to arrest a man for being drunk and disruptive in public.

As they struggled with the man, he grabbed the officer's revolver and shot Chief Sparks five times and the officer once in his abdomen. A nearby store owner, who had called in the complaint, held the suspect at gunpoint until other officers arrived.

The suspect was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. On June 16, 1950, four hours before his scheduled execution, his sentence was commuted to life.

Chief Sparks had served with the Oxford Police Department for 20 years. He was survived by his wife, two daughters, four sons and 11 grandchildren.


  • Age 63
  • Tour 20 years
  • Badge 600

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Sentenced to life

arrest attempt

Most Recent Reflection

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Chief Sparks,
On today, the 75th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Oxford. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

May 7, 2023

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