Deputy Sheriff James Billups Trevathan

Deputy Sheriff James Billups Trevathan

Surry County Sheriff's Office, North Carolina

End of Watch Sunday, June 2, 1963

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James Billups Trevathan

Deputy Sheriff James Trevathan was shot and killed while attempting to stop a vehicle that had just been involved in two hit-and-runs. The vehicle fled when Deputy Trevathan attempted to pull it over.

The vehicle finally stopped after a short pursuit. As the driver exited the vehicle he opened fire on Deputy Trevathan with a .38 caliber revolver, striking him twice. Despite being mortally wounded, Deputy Trevathan returned fire, striking the suspect once in the spine, paralyzing him.

The suspect and his girlfriend were charged with several crimes stemming from the incident, including Deputy Trevathan's murder.

The suspect was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 28 years in prison. He was released March 1, 1976, and died three months later.

Deputy Trevathan was a WWII veteran and had served with the Surry County Sheriff's Department for 6 months. He was survived by his wife, two sons, daughter, parents, four brothers, and two sisters.


  • Age 38
  • Tour 6 months
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .38 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to 28 years

Most Recent Reflection

View all 12 Reflections

I remember you even though I was just a kid when you and Dad often worked together; Dad in Carroll County and you in Surry County. Only the State Line separated you and Dad as you chased criminals back and forth. You and Dad were friends and your death weighed heavily upon Dad; over the next 20 years of his law enforcement career he never forgot you; Dad too died with his badge on. Your life and example made a great impact upon many people, including me in my own career in law enforcement, and your death taught us a very serious lesson. Jimmy, you are not forgotten.

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

April 21, 2019

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