Deputy Sheriff Oscar Burkhart

Deputy Sheriff Oscar Burkhart

Harlan County Sheriff's Office, Kentucky

End of Watch Thursday, November 7, 1968

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Oscar Burkhart

Deputy Burkhart was shot and killed while attempting to transport a 20-year-old prisoner to the county jail for causing a disturbance at a school festival. Deputy Burkhart had stopped for a red light when the prisoner's parents pulled up behind him, got out, and opened fire on Deputy Burkhart's patrol car. His mother, 39, went to one side of the car, and his father, 64, went to the other side. Both fired 50 rounds from different caliber weapons, hitting Deputy Burkhart nine times. All of the suspects fled the scene after the shooting but were captured a short time later.

On May 24, 1969, the parents was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life. On June 24, 1970, the Kentucky Supreme Court upheld their convictions, but both were released at some point before June 12, 1978, the date the father died in Cincinnati, Ohio.

From 1907 to 1976, 38 law enforcement officers have been shot and killed in Harlan County, Kentucky, more than all U.S. counties per capita.


  • Age 53
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

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

Most Recent Reflection

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Well, granddaddy, you were gone long before I was ever born. I am the youngest son of your little girl Victoria Rose. Its said that I look a lot like you. If I ever had a wish to be made true, it would have been to know who you were. R.I.P Grandaddy Burkhart.


March 20, 2019

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