Patrolman Sonny W. Vaughn

Patrolman Sonny W. Vaughn

Burlington Police Department, North Carolina

End of Watch Wednesday, December 7, 1938

Sonny W. Vaughn

Patrolman Sonny Vaughn and Sheriff Mercellus Robertson, of the Alamance County Sheriff's Department, were shot and killed by two escaped convicts while responding to a burglary-in-progress at a service station at the corner of North Church Street and Trade Street.

Both were met with gunshots from the darkness as they entered the station. A third officer returned fire through a window killing one of the convicts as they tried to escape through a back door. The other convict escaped.

Both convicts had escaped from an Anson County Prison Camp on October 22, 1938.

Patrolman Vaughn was survived by his wife, two sons, and three daughters.


  • Age 55
  • Tour 20 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Shot and killed

Most Recent Reflection

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Sonny Webb Vaughn was my grandfather. I didn't not have the opportunity to meet him. He was shot in 1938 and I was born in 1950. I have done a lot of research on our family through his side. His mother was Elizabeth Cozart from Person County, NC. Her side can be traced to New Amsterdam now New York where her great great great great grandfather Jacques Cossart came from France with his wife, Lea Vilemon who was from the Netherlands. Jacque Cossart was the first bursar of New Amsterdam. There are people who fought in the American Revolution on this side. On his father, Albert Vaughn's side is a great great great grandfather who signed an allegiance to the newly formed state of North Carolina. He came from strong, hard working people. I missed having him as a grandfather, but I grew up hearing the stories about his sacrifice that fateful night.

Donna Vaughn Smith

September 7, 2013

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