Deputy Sheriff Benjamin G. DeVault

Deputy Sheriff Benjamin G. DeVault

Union County Sheriff's Office, Tennessee

End of Watch Monday, August 1, 1960

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Benjamin G. DeVault

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

Deputy DeVault and his brother, a county constable, were the lead car in the pursuit that started on Highway 61 near Big Ridge State Park. They chased the subject into Anderson County when the driver intentionally forced them off the road three miles from the Norris Freeway 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 again 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

murder suspect, vehicle pursuit

Most Recent Reflection

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Doing family genealogy I just ran across Benjamin. We are 1st cousins, 2x removed. Thank you Benjamin for protecting Union County and for all your years of service and for you and your family's sacrifice!

Sherry Seay

May 30, 2022

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