Assistant Watershed Warden William A. Burnett, Jr.

Assistant Watershed Warden William A. Burnett, Jr.

Asheville Water Department, North Carolina

End of Watch Sunday, May 10, 1936

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William A. Burnett, Jr.

Assistant Watershed Warden Billy Burnett was shot and killed after arresting a trespasser in the North Fork Watershed.

Assistant Warden Burnett, along with his father who served as the warden, observed four men trespassing along the watershed and split up to apprehend them. When the men saw the wardens they all fled. Assistant Warden Burnett was able to arrest one of the men and began walking with him to meet up with his father.

The man suddenly grabbed his 18-inch metal flashlight and struck Assistant Warden Burnett on the head, knocking him down. He then grabbed Assistant Burnett's pistol from its holster and shot him several times. His father witnessed the shooting and exchanged shots with the man as he fled. The subject was arrested the following day. He plead guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison.

Assistant Warden Burnett was a U.S. Navy veteran and had only been appointed as the Assistant Watershed Warden ten days earlier. He was survived by his parents.


  • Age 25
  • Tour 1 week
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Sentenced to life


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