Patrolman Dennis Franklin Spinnett

Patrolman Dennis Franklin Spinnett

Thomasville Police Department, North Carolina

End of Watch Saturday, January 8, 1977

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Dennis Franklin Spinnett

Patrolman Spinnett and Patrolman Robert Crawford were shot and killed after responding to a disturbance call on Douglas Drive at 2250 hours. When the officers arrived they encountered two men in the front lawn. When they followed the men inside a struggle ensued and one of the suspects gained control of Patrolman Crawford's service weapon. The suspect shot Patrolman Crawford in the throat. Patrolman Spinnett was able to return fire but was struck in the head. Both suspects were apprehended the same day.

The suspect who shot the two officers was convicted of two counts of first degree murder and sentenced to two consecutive life terms on May 11, 1977. He died in prison on March 14, 1995.

The other suspect was convicted of being an accessory after the fact of murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison on May 12, 1977. He was parolled on January 21, 1981. A few months later he was killed in Stanly County during an altercation over a poker game.

Patrolman Spinnett had been with the agency for three years and was survived by his parents, brother, and two sisters.


  • Age 28
  • Tour 3 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender died in prison

Most Recent Reflection

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Officers Spinet and Crawford were my former Partners with whom I often worked while I was a youthful Thomasville Police Officer. They were fine men who deeply cared about their career in law enforcement and in protecting the City and people whom they served with dedication. Many years have now passed but, within my mind's eye, I still see them as young Police Officers, as was I, just starting out on their careers. We alternated walking "the Beat" in either sunshine or dead of night, in rain or in snow, and then switching off every two hours riding on Patrol and answering calls. We worked three man cars back in those days. Naturally, we came to know each other fairly well and learned each other thoughts before they were even voiced when "on the job." Even though the years continue to dim our memories, the faces of our former Partners will always be with us. We pray that Almighty God will grant them eternal rest and a special place in the Honor Guard of Heaven.

Special Agent-in-Charge [Retired] Jerry
Department of Defense

July 19, 2019

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