Constable John Johnson Fleming

Constable John Johnson Fleming

Panola County Constable's Office - Precinct 8, Texas

End of Watch Sunday, September 8, 1929

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John Johnson Fleming

A church was having their annual revival and several hundred people were gathered. Precinct 8 Constable John J. Fleming lived about 250 yards from the church. Around 6:00 p.m. Constable Fleming and two friends went to the church to see if they needed any beef since the revival was to run all week. Andrew Castleberry began speaking loudly and apparently was intoxicated. Constable Fleming noticed that Castleberry was carrying a pistol. The constable motioned for Castleberry to come over, and said to him, “you seem to be feeling pretty good but you had better give me that gun.” Fleming reached out his left hand and took hold of the handle of the pistol and Castleberry stepped backward, wrenching the pistol from Constable Fleming. Castleberry raised the pistol and attempted to fire, but Fleming was faster and drew his pistol and shot Castleberry two times in the head. Castleberry lived about an hour.

Andrew's brother, Walter Castleberry, walked up and shot the constable through the forearm. The bullet ranged down into Fleming's lower bowels. Charley Thompson then shot the constable from behind. The bullet went through his shoulder and into his heart. Constable Fleming emptied his pistol at his assailants as he fell, wounding two bystanders. Albert McDowell grabbed a board and struck the constable several times after he fell on the ground. Constable Fleming died at the scene.

The sheriff arrested Robert Castleberry, the father of Andrew and Walter, and his other sons David, Ned and Will, and Charley Thompson. Walter Castleberry and Albert McDowell fled the scene. On February 19, 1931 Thompson, 25, was sentenced to 99 years in prison. In 1943 he started receiving yearly releases. During his fourth release he died on November 19, 1946. McDowell was apprehended in California in November of 1939. On May 16, 1940, now age 40, he was sentenced to 40 years in prison. He was paroled on October 6, 1943, and died in 1946. Walter Castleberry was never apprehended.

Constable Fleming was survived by his wife and three children. He was buried in the Clayton Cemetery. He had been the elected constable for only 8 months.


  • Age 37
  • Tour 8 months, 1 week
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Two convicted and one never apprehended

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No passage of time will ever erase your service and sacrifice. Rest in peace always.

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

September 8, 2020

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