Deputy Sheriff Franklin Conrad Bunton

Deputy Sheriff Franklin Conrad Bunton

Johnson County Sheriff's Office, Tennessee

End of Watch Thursday, April 9, 1936

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Franklin Conrad Bunton

Deputy Sheriff Franklin Bunton was shot and killed while struggling with a drunk suspect who was brandishing a weapon on Main Street in Butler, Tennessee.

He was eating in a restaurant with two other deputies and a town policeman when they heard shouting outside. When they went outside to investigate they encountered a drunk man who yelled at them not to come closer and displayed a handgun.

Deputy Bunton turned to step back onto the sidewalk but the man approached him from behind. When Deputy Bunton turned to disarm a struggle ensued. During the struggle, Deputy Bunton was shot in the abdomen.

The subject who shot him was sentenced to six years but had the sentence set aside because he was suffering from terminal cancer.

The original town of Butler was moved to its current location in 1948 when the Tennessee Valley Authority built the Watauga Dam and flooded the area. The original town and location of the incident, now called "Old Butler," is submerged in approximately 100' of water.

Deputy Bunton had served with the Johnson County Sheriff's Office for six years and had previously served as an elected county constable. He was survived by his wife and seven children.


  • Age 31
  • Tour 6 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .38 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to 6 years


Most Recent Reflection

View all 6 Reflections

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 76th 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 who was murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered.

Rest In Peace

Phyllis Loya
Mom of fallen California Officer Larry Lasater, Pittsburg PD, eow 4/24/05

April 9, 2012

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