Deputy Sheriff Benjamin G. DeVault

Deputy Sheriff Benjamin G. DeVault

Union County Sheriff's Office, Tennessee

End of Watch Monday, August 1, 1960

Benjamin G. DeVault

Deputy Sheriff Ben DeVault was shot and killed while pursuing a murder suspect on Highway 61 with other county and federal officers.

Deputy DeVault and his brother, a county constable, were the lead car in the pursuit when suspect intentionally forced them off the road by stopping his car suddenly. As their vehicle passed, the suspect opened fire, striking Deputy DeVault in the head.

Two civilians who were assisting with the search of the two suspects following the shooting were also shot when they were mistaken for the wanted men. One of the civilians later died.

Three weeks earlier, the suspect had escaped from the Knox County Jail where he was serving a sentence for drunk driving. The next day he and another escapee robbed and killed a merchant in Andersonville. After he killed Deputy DeVault he went into hiding in the nearby mountains. Four weeks later he surrendered to the Knox County Sheriff. On October 24, 1960, he was shot and killed when he attempted to escape from the Knox County Jail.

Deputy DeVault had served with the Union County Sheriff's Office for 20 years. He was survived by his wife, two sons, and three daughters.


  • Age 54
  • Tour 20 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Shot and killed

Most Recent Reflection

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Deputy Sheriff DeVault,
Sir, it has taken over 51 years but you are finally being honored. I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Union County. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

January 29, 2012

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