Patrol Officer James Leroy Bennett

Patrol Officer James Leroy Bennett

Decatur Police Department, Texas

End of Watch Thursday, April 3, 1980

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James Leroy Bennett

Officer James Bennett was shot and killed when he stopped a suspect wanted for stealing a .22 caliber rifle in a nearby town.

The traffic stop occurred on US 380, about one mile east of Decatur. As Officer Bennett approached the vehicle, the suspect exited with the rifle, pointed it at Officer Bennett, and told him to put his hands up. Officer Bennett complied but the suspect opened fire and shot him in the throat.

The 17-year-old suspect fled the scene but was quickly apprehended. He was found guilty of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison. He was denied parole on October 15, 2021. His next parole hearing is in September of 2026.

Officer Bennett served with the Decatur Police Department for six years and is survived by his wife and son.


  • Age 45
  • Tour 6 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Rifle; .22 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to life

Most Recent Reflection

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Thanks for having been a friend all those 43 years ago. You told me one day when you came into the SO, I was dispatching, we had been talking about careers, you told me that day what ever you decide to do Police, Fire, EMT, BE the best, do the best you can.

Thanks for those words, I tell my Daughter and Son in law the same.


Terry Chester

April 4, 2023

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