Chief Deputy Sheriff Washington May Bennett

Chief Deputy Sheriff Washington May Bennett

Marshall County Sheriff's Office, Alabama

End of Watch Friday, May 18, 1951

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Washington May Bennett

Chief Deputy Bennett, Sheriff E.M. Boyles, and Chief of Police Leonard Floyd, of the Boaz Police Department, were shot and killed while attempting to serve a warrant at a farmhouse on a man, 40, for assault with intent to kill a neighbor.

As the three and another deputy reached the suspect's farmhouse he came out with a rifle firing rapidly at the officers as they were getting out of their car. All four returned fire killing the man. As the man fell his 16-year-old son grabbed the rifle. Firing rapidly from the hip he brought down all four lawmen. Chief Floyd and Sheriff Boyles were killed. Chief Deputy Bennett shot through the left temple, the bullet exiting his right jaw, managed to get the seriously wounded deputy into the car and drove into Boaz sounding the alarm. Chief Deputy Bennett died in a hospital three hours later.

The boy and two men in the home were arrested and charged with three counts of murder. The wounded deputy said shots not only came from the youth, but also from two windows. Yet charges against the two men were dropped. Only the Youth was tried for murder. The man's wife, also the youth's mother said the officers fired first. Over the next two years four trials ended with hung juries. Just as the fifth trial was about to begin, a plea bargain resulted in a 10 year sentence. He was paroled on December 24, 1957. His mother spent $27,000.00 on his trials. To this day it has been argued, "was it murder or self defense".


  • Age 40
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Rifle; .32 caliber carbine
  • Offender Paroled in 1957

Most Recent Reflection

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Thank you for your service and please know that your sacrifice will never, ever be forgotten by your law enforcement brethren. Rest in peace always.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

May 17, 2021

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