Patrolman William Larry Whitwell

Patrolman William Larry Whitwell

Columbia Police Department, Tennessee

End of Watch Sunday, April 5, 1981

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William Larry Whitwell

Patrolman William Whitwell was shot and killed with his own weapon after stopping a vehicle for speeding.

Unbeknownst to Patrolman Whitwell, the two occupants had just robbed a local fast-food restaurant. As he was talking with the men, the robbery call was broadcast over the radio, and Patrolman Whitwell observed a money bag in the vehicle. A struggle ensued, and Patrolman Whitwell was shot with his own weapon.

Both subjects, ages 19 and 17, fled but were later apprehended. One was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life. The 17-year-old was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 50 years. He was denied parole in October 2012 but was paroled months later. The other suspect was denied parole in October 2020 but has another parole hearing in September 2023.

Patrolman Whitwell had served with the Columbia Police Department for 12 years. He was survived by his wife and son.


  • Age 34
  • Tour 12 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Sentenced to life

traffic stop

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Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. Your service and sacrifice will not be forgotten Godspeed brother

Gunnery Sergeant Matthew R Bennett United States Marine Corps retired

November 7, 2022

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