Lieutenant Willard Edward Vaughan

Lieutenant Willard Edward Vaughan

Roanoke Rapids Police Department, North Carolina

End of Watch Monday, May 9, 1977

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Willard Edward Vaughan

Lieutenant Willard Vaughan was shot and killed while responding to a silent alarm at a convenience store.

Lieutenant Vaughan and another officer and a deputy sheriff responded to the silent alarm at a convenience store. He drove past the scene and met with the deputy down the road. Lieutenant Vaughan and the deputy started driving back toward the crime scene with Lieutenant Vaughan's police vehicle in front. The deputy slowed down to look down a dirt road, when he saw the brake lights of Lieutenant Vaughan's police vehicle come on. Lieutenant Vaughan exited his vehicle and the deputy stated that he saw a tremendous amount of gunfire.

One of the two suspects ran in front of Lieutenant Vaughan's vehicle and opened fire at close range. Lieutenant Vaughan was hit four times and the suspect one time. The deputy pulled up and the suspect shot at the deputy, hitting his vehicle. The deputy then shot and hit the suspect a second time. The two suspects were arrested at the scene. A third suspect was arrested hours later in Emporia, Virginia.

Lieutenant Vaughan's killer was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to life in prison September 19, 1977. He was still in prison in 2022.

Lieutenant Vaughan had served with the Roanoke Rapids Police Department for 21 years and was planning to retire in three months. He was survived by his wife and son.


  • Age 64
  • Tour 21 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Sentenced to life

Most Recent Reflection

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Rest in peace Lt. Vaughan.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

July 10, 2019

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