Special Deputy Sheriff Ernest William Birt

Special Deputy Sheriff Ernest William Birt

Etowah County Sheriff's Office, Alabama

End of Watch Tuesday, February 14, 1911

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Ernest William Birt

Deputy Ernest Birt was shot in the back of the head and killed while on patrol. The suspect and Deputy Birt had a long-standing dispute.

Deputy Birt was making his rounds in the mining town of Crudup, AL around 10:00 a.m. on February 14, 1911. He was walking past the hotel and commissary when someone stepped out from the barber's shop and fired a shot from a pistol hitting Deputy Birt in the back of his head. Deputy Birt immediately fell to the ground and his assailant fled. Deputy Birt was taken to the office of local Dr. Camp who stated that the wounded deputy would not live. Sheriff Lister was notified about the shooting. Sheriff Lister and Deputy Farrar went to the scene to investigate. Dr. Camp pronounced Deputy Birt deceased at 1:10 p.m.

A twenty-three year old miner was arrested shortly after the shooting by Deputy Painter, who was also stationed in Crudup. Deputy Painter had been summoned shortly after the shooting and met the suspect, who confessed to the crime and surrendered. The suspect was a resident of a boardinghouse owned by my Mrs. Tucker, Deputy Birt's mother. The suspect and Deputy Birt had quarreled more than once about a half-sister of Deputy Birt's with whom the suspect had become involved. Deputy Birt had ordered the suspect to leave Crudup the morning of the shooting. The suspect refused to leave and waited on Deputy Birt to make his rounds when the shooting occurred.

Deputy Birt was buried at Bethany Cemetary near Reese Station the following day at 2:00 p.m.

The suspect stood trial for the murder in the Etowah County Ciruit Court. He was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 15 years. In June of 1912 the Alabama Supreme Court granted him a new trial.

Deputy Birt was survived by his wife and several children.


  • Age 34
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Sentenced to 15 years

Most Recent Reflection

View all 6 Reflections

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 99th anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Rest In Peace.

Phyllis Loya

Phyllis Loya
mother of fallen officer Larry Lasater

February 18, 2010

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