Sheriff Robert E. Gatlin

Sheriff Robert E. Gatlin

Walton County Sheriff's Office, Florida

End of Watch Thursday, November 12, 1942

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Robert E. Gatlin

Sheriff Bob Gatlin was shot and killed while executing a search warrant.

Sheriff Gatlin and a Deputy went to an establishment with a search warrant to investigate reports of illegal shipments of whiskey. The storekeeper led the Sheriff and the Deputy to the back of the store, then attacked them. Sheriff Gatlin drew his weapon, but the subject was able to gain control of the weapon and shoot Sheriff Catlin and his deputy. The suspect was apprehended by a state trooper the next day after he found him hiding in an outhouse. The deputy recovered from his wounds.

The suspect was found guilty of Sheriff Gatlin's murder and sentenced to life. Upon appeal, he was tried again, convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to 20 years of hard labor. The Florida Supreme Court overturned the second conviction, and he was again found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 20 years. On July 21, 1945, he was released from prison after his conviction was overturned a third time.

Sheriff Gatlin had served with the Walton County Sheriff's Officer for two years. He was survived by his wife and two children.


  • Age 48
  • Tour 2 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Released in 1945

search warrant

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Sheriff Gatlin,
On today, the 80th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Walton County.


United States Border Patrol

November 12, 2022

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