Deputy Sheriff Alfred Jackson Pate

Deputy Sheriff Alfred Jackson Pate

Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, North Carolina

End of Watch Friday, July 22, 1921

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Alfred Jackson Pate

Deputy Sheriff Alfred Pate was shot and killed as he, the sheriff, and four other deputies raided an illegal still in northern Cumberland County.

As they snuck upon the scene, they were discovered, and the three suspects fled the scene. The deputies destroyed the liquor and confiscated the items. They attempted to put a large copper pot into the backseat of the car, but it was too large, and they were unable to close the back door. Because of this, Deputy Pate rode on the running board as they slowly drove away from the area. Suddenly shots rang out from the woods, fatally wounding Deputy Pate and nearly striking the other deputies.

One suspect was apprehended and sentenced to 30 years of hard labor in state prison. In prison, the suspect showed skill at designing firearms and, after serving 8 of the 30 years, was granted a commutation of his sentence by the governor and released. The suspect went on to briefly work for Remington, Colt, and Winchester. While at Winchester, he designed the short-stroke gas piston used by other Winchester engineers in the development of the U.S. Carbine, Caliber .30 M1. The suspect was committed to a psychiatric hospital as a result of his many years of alcoholism in 1973, where he died in 1975.

Deputy Pate had been in law enforcement for 20 years and was survived by his wife and five children.

He was first buried in the Gee Family Cemetery and was later reburied in Cross Creek Cemetery, Number Three, Fayetteville, North Carolina.


  • Age 63
  • Tour 20 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Rifle
  • Offender Pardoned after 8 years

alcohol violation, Raid

Most Recent Reflection

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I just came upon this web site and the many tributes from total strangers for Alfred J. Pate struck a powerful and happy chord in my heart. My great-grandfather, James Pate, was a younger brother to the fallen deputy. My father, a physician, cared for Al Pate’s only offspring, “Cousin Ellen,” in her old age. I own a Hepplewhite sideboard that once belonged to Uncle Al, and a hemp hangman’s noose he took away from a lynch mob in front of the county jail in Fayetteville. He had saved the suspect only after a hell-for-leather buggy ride through downtown, having arranged the man’s peaceful surrender. The alleged crime? The chief of police, hearing a knock at his front door, arose from Sunday lunch with his family and went to answer the door. When he opened it, he was shot dead on his doorstep. But I wanted to reach out because it is so fine to see him remembered. He is a legend in the Pate family and there are many colorful stories about him. He was both the chief deputy and the chief jailer at the time of his death.

James L. Pate Jr.
Grand nephew of Alfred Jackson Pate

May 30, 2023

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