Deputy Sheriff John A. Gilbert

Deputy Sheriff John A. Gilbert

Polk County Sheriff's Office, Tennessee

End of Watch Thursday, June 14, 1928

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John A. Gilbert

Deputy John Gilbert was shot and killed while investigating a suspicious vehicle parked along the road on Little Sand Mountain. The car was parked in a location used by the local power company's payroll truck and had caught the attention of power company workers. The workers notified Deputy Gilbert, who lived nearby, and asked him to investigate the vehicle.

Deputy Gilbert deputized a neighbor and went to investigate. They reached the car as a man came out of the woods carrying a large sack. When Deputy Gilbert asked the man to surrender the man put the sack in the vehicle and immediately opened fire with a .45 caliber pistol, striking Deputy Gilbert. Despite being mortally wounded, Deputy Gilbert was able to return fire with his shotgun and struck the suspect once in the side.

The 26-year-old suspect fled the scene in his vehicle but became too weak to drive after a short distance. He was picked up by two passerby and taken to his home, and then to a local hospital, where he was charged with Deputy Gilbert's murder. His first trial ended with a hung jury. His second trial which was to begin on March 20, 1929, was postponed. When the suspect left home that morning to go to court an unknown gunman shot him in the back of his leg from ambush. On April 3, 1929, the suspect was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison.

Deputy Gilbert had served with the agency for several terms. He was survived by his wife, four daughters, and son.


  • Age 55
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .45 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to 20 years

Most Recent Reflection

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Time may have passed but you are not forgotten. I believe as long as someone remembers you or speaks your name, you are still with us.
Thank you for your heroism.
GOD Bless

Detention Officer A.Zambito

June 15, 2015

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