Deputy Sheriff James Conner

Deputy Sheriff James Conner

Marion County Sheriff's Department, Tennessee

End of Watch Monday, December 26, 1927

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James Conner

Deputy James Conner, Sheriff Wash Coppinger, and Deputy Langford Hennessey were shot and killed in a shootout with members of the South Pittsburgh Police Department who held a grudge against the sheriff.

The city's night marshal was the former sheriff who had lost his re-election bid against Sheriff Coppinger. The night marshal had appointed a man who had been arrested by Sheriff Coppinger as a deputy marshal.

During a labor strike at a local factory the night marshal and his officers supported the non-union workers who were not striking and harassed striking workers.

A county deputy witnessed the officers holding a union member at gunpoint and approached them. The city officers then held the deputy at gunpoint before dispersing. The deputy immediately notified Sheriff Coppinger, who responded to the scene with Deputy L.B. Hennessey, Deputy James Conner, and his son, who was also a deputy.

The sheriff and deputies confronted the officers and attempted to resolve the situation peacefully by offering to discuss it with the mayor. The sheriff then informed one of the officers he would have to be arrested for pointing the gun at the deputy.

One of the officers then opened fire with a shotgun. During the ensuing shootout Sheriff Coppinger and Deputy L.B. Hennessey were killed, along with the city night marshal, his deputy, and a special officer who worked at the local factory. Deputy James Conner, who also served as the South Pittsburgh police chief, suffered a fatal shotgun blast and died the following day.

Sheriff Coppinger was survived by his wife and children.


  • Age 44
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Sunday, December 25, 1927
  • Weapon Shotgun; 12 gauge
  • Offender Shot and killed

Most Recent Reflection

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James Conner (Uncle Jim) as my Mother, Lillian B. Conner Poe, always referred to him. Uncle Jim was the brother to Momma's Father, William Allan Conner. One of my earliest memories was listening to Grandpa's stories, one of them being the "Shootout in South Pittsburg, Tn. Momma was 4 when the "Shootouts" happened but she grew up listening to the terrible account. Grandpa stilled expressed great loss. Uncle Jim also left behind a family. He is buried in the South Pittsburg Cemetary. I do not know the name of the Cemetary.

Stella B. Poe Sutton

January 5, 2015

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