Night Policeman William Richard Coleman

Night Policeman William Richard Coleman

Arab Police Department, Alabama

End of Watch Saturday, August 14, 1943

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William Richard Coleman

Night Policeman William Coleman was shot and killed from ambush by members of a family seeking retaliation against him.

Policeman Coleman had encountered one of the family members the previous day when the man was caught driving recklessly through town. The man and three other family members located Policeman Coleman in front of the Arab Billiard Parlor and shot him several times before stealing his service revolver.

Four of the family members were arrested and charged with first-degree murder. The primary suspect was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Policeman Coleman had served in law enforcement for over 35 years. He had previously served with the Marshall County Sheriff's Office and Guntersville Police Department.


  • Age 72
  • Tour 35 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .32 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to life

ambush, retaliation

Most Recent Reflection

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Night Policeman Coleman, I've been a Police Officer for (counting my Auxiliary Police time) almost 40 years. At my current Job, I've been a NIGHT Policeman for about 33. We have THAT in common. However, I hope to NEVER work at the age of 72, never mind STILL on The Job. You are a hero to me for that alone.

Brother, you showed more courage and fortitude in your career, if for no other reason for working nights at your age, than almost anyone else in this day and age. I admire you, question your sanity, and respect you boundlessly. You are a true hero.

On this 75th anniversary of your demise, please, Rest in Peace for all eternity and may God Bless you.

I can only hope and pray that all who are within your bloodline know your story.

Ptl. Jim Leahy, Jr.
Harvard University Police Department

October 18, 2018

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