Special Deputy Vernie Melford Roberts

Special Deputy Vernie Melford Roberts

Delaware County Sheriff's Office, Oklahoma

End of Watch Monday, July 19, 1999

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Vernie Melford Roberts

Special Deputy Vernie Roberts was shot and killed with his own weapon while transporting a juvenile prisoner from one juvenile facility to another.

Deputy Roberts was driving, and his wife, who was also a reserve deputy, was in the front passenger seat. The suspect, who was in the back seat, was somehow able to reach from the back seat and grab Deputy Roberts' wife around the neck. He then demanded that Deputy Roberts pull the vehicle over and surrender his gun. After stopping and exiting the vehicle, a struggle ensued, and the suspect gained control of the weapon and shot Deputy Roberts twice. The suspect then stole the unmarked cruiser but was later captured after a short manhunt.

Deputy Roberts was flown to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. His wife was uninjured.

The subject was tried as an adult, convicted of first-degree murder on January 10, 2001, and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Deputy Roberts was survived by his wife, two daughters, and six grandchildren.


  • Age 65
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

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

juvenile, prisoner custody

Most Recent Reflection

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Deputy Roberts,
On today, the 25th anniversary of your death I would just like t say thank you for your service and sacrifice for he citizens of Delaware County. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

BPA Mike Casey
United States Border Patrol(Retired)

July 19, 2024

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