Police Officer John Wesley Sykes, Jr.

Police Officer John Wesley Sykes, Jr.

Memphis Police Department, Tennessee

End of Watch Friday, December 31, 1982

John Wesley Sykes, Jr.

Officer John Sykes was shot and killed while pursing a vehicle. At approximately 1911 hours, Officer Sykes and his FTO observed a vehicle driving erratically. Unknown to the officers, the two occupants had just committed an armed robbery in a Post Office parking lot. The officers attempted to stop the vehicle and a pursuit began. During the pursuit, Officer Sykes and his FTO lost sight of the car. As they were passing a street, they noticed the car had pulled into the street to hide.

The officers quickly turned around to apprehend the suspects. The suspect vehicle sped out from its hiding place. As the suspect vehicle passed the patrol car, one of the suspects opened fire. Officer Sykes was struck in the neck. He was rushed to Methodist Hospital where he died about two hours later. Both suspects were apprehended two days later.

Both suspects were convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Police Officer Sykes had graduated from the Police Academy only 13 days prior to this incident.


  • Age Not available
  • Tour 1 week
  • Badge 886

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .357 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to life

Most Recent Reflection

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Rest in peace Officer Sykes. A short and tragic career cut down by wanton evil. God knows His flock and Honor roll of resolve and dignity to be richly rewarded.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

September 22, 2018

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