Rural Police Officer James Reuben Lee

Rural Police Officer James Reuben Lee

Rutherford County Police Department, North Carolina

End of Watch Sunday, August 26, 1923

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James Reuben Lee

Rural Police Officer Reuben Lee was shot and killed while attempting to arrest two men at Chimney Rock for drinking in public.

Officer Lee observed the two men drinking whiskey on the rocks below the Esmeralda Pavilion and approached them to question them. When he asked the men if they were armed one of them took several steps back and opened fire on him with a .45 caliber handgun, wounding him. Officer Lee was transported to Rutherford Hospital where he succumbed to his wounds early the next morning.

Both men fled the scene but were arrested later in the day. The subject who shot Officer Lee was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to eight years at hard labor.

Officer Lee had served as a rural police officer for Rutherford County for several years. He was survived by his wife, five children, father, and five siblings.


  • Age 31
  • Tour 3 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .45 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to 8 years

Most Recent Reflection

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Rest in peace always knowing that your service and sacrifice will never, ever be forgotten by your law enforcement brethren.

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

August 26, 2020

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