Police Officer James Michael Carpenter

Police Officer James Michael Carpenter

Crowley Police Department, Texas

End of Watch Tuesday, February 13, 1979

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James Michael Carpenter

Officer Carpenter was shot and killed after stopping a pickup truck which had been reported stolen from Fort Worth earlier in the night. After confirming that the truck was stolen and that the two occupants were wanted, he placed them both in his cruiser, with one in the back seat and the other in the front seat. The suspect in the front seat suddenly lunged at Officer Carpenter in an attempt to grab his gun.
The two struggled and Officer Carpenter began to overpower the suspect. The second suspect then began to help and the suspect in the front seat gained control of the weapon. The suspects ordered Officer Carpenter out of the cruiser and he complied. He then jumped back into the cruiser in an attempt to take the keys out of the ignition. When he did so the suspect shot him in the chest, fatally wounding him.

The suspects fled the scene but were arrested several days later in Louisiana. The shooter, 36, was sentenced to death but was retried seven years later and sentenced to life. In 2007 he received an additional three years for an attack on a fellow inmate with a knife in 2003. He was denied parole on September 15, 2020. His next parole hearing is in August of 2025. The other suspect, 22, was released on parole after several years.

Officer Carpenter had been in law enforcement for five years and was survived by his wife and stepdaughter.


  • Age 25
  • Tour 5 years
  • Badge 101

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Life sentence

arrest attempt, traffic stop

Most Recent Reflection

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He and I were in the same academy class. He had to work a shift and then sit in the class for 8 hours. No one worked harder at getting through the academy.

Retired police chief
Junction, Kirby, Hondo, Azle, Mansfield and Arlington.

February 14, 2022

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