Deputy Sheriff Joseph Wyatt Lunsford

Deputy Sheriff Joseph Wyatt Lunsford

Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office, Tennessee

End of Watch Wednesday, August 5, 1931

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Joseph Wyatt Lunsford

Deputy Sheriff Joseph Lunsford was shot and fatally wounded as he and another deputy attempted to arrest a man for severely beating his sister-in-law at Hale's Point, near Ripley. The suspect opened fire with a shotgun, with the blast hitting Deputy Lunsford in his left arm and the other deputy in the leg.

Deputy Lunsford died at Baptist Hospital in Memphis three days later after his arm was amputated when gangrene developed.

The suspect was convicted of Deputy Lunford's murder and sentenced to 21 years in prison. He was paroled February 16th, 1940. On November 21st, 1941, he shot and killed Federal Investigator William Milton Pugh during a raid of a liquor still near Dyersburg, Tennessee. He was convicted of murder and executed in the electric chair on August 14th, 1943.

Deputy Lunsford is buried in Grace Cemetery in Ripley.


  • Age 62
  • Tour 4 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Sunday, August 2, 1931
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Sentenced to 21 years

Most Recent Reflection

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Deputy Sheriff Lunsford,
On today, the 90th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Lauderdale County.


United States Border Patrol

August 5, 2021

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