Deputy Sheriff James Sam Shelley

Deputy Sheriff James Sam Shelley

Osage County Sheriff's Office, Oklahoma

End of Watch Wednesday, May 11, 1921

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James Sam Shelley

Deputy Sheriff Sam Shelley was killed trying to apprehend two car thieves.

He was notified that a car had been stolen and that the suspects were heading his way. He parked his car on the only road available to them for escape. As the vehicle approached he ordered them to stop, but one of the men shot him in the chest.

Outraged citizens offered a reward. The suspects were part of a gang and were captured a few months later, but they escaped jail and were not captured for another six years. The suspect was convicted of the murder of Chief of Police W.J. McAnally of the Beggs Police Department. He was paroled in 1948, but after violating parole, he returned to prison, where he died in 1961.

Deputy Shelley had served with the Osage County Sheriff's Office for his second term, had been a police officer for eight years, and was also the Town Marshal of Pershing for three years simultaneously. He was survived by his wife and two children, and his parents.

He is buried at Fairlawn Cemetery in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

The gang was led by the Kimes brother, who had murdered Deputy Perry Chuculate, of the Sequoyah County, Oklahoma, Sheriff's Office, on August 27, 1926. The two brothers were convicted of manslaughter in connection with Deputy Chuculate's murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison. One of the brothers, Matthew Kimes, escaped from prison and continued his crime spree.

During the following year the escaped brother continued robbing banks with the Cotton Top Walker Gang, which was responsible for the murders of Patrolman Coke Buchanan, of the Borger, Texas, Police Department, on March 19, 1927; Deputy D. P. Kenyon and Deputy Almer Terry, both of the Hutchinson County, Texas, Sheriff's Department, on April 1, 1927; and Chief W. J. McAnnally of the Beggs, Oklahoma, Police Department, on May 18, 1927.

Matthew Kimes, one of the leaders of the gang, was arrested in Flagstaff, Arizona, on June 23, 1927.


  • Age 35
  • Tour 8 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Convicted for murder of another officer

arrest attempt, robbery

Most Recent Reflection

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Rest in peace Deputy Sheriff Shelley.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

March 24, 2023

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