Sheriff Jerry Vernon Beach

Sheriff Jerry Vernon Beach

Martin County Sheriff's Office, North Carolina

End of Watch Monday, October 12, 1992

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Jerry Vernon Beach

Sheriff Jerry Beach was shot and killed after responding to an officer needs assistance call at a bank in Oak City. The Oak City Police Chief had interrupted a robbery in progress before the bank opened, and the suspect had fired on him and taken the bank's maintenance crew, an elderly couple, hostage. Sheriff Beach, a hostage negotiator, responded to the scene. After calming the suspect down and bringing him the food he had requested, the Sheriff asked the suspect to release the hostages and take him as a hostage in their place. As Sheriff Beach opened his coat to show the suspect he was unarmed, the suspect fired without provocation, striking him in the abdomen.

Sheriff Beach managed to run to a nearby officer before collapsing. An ambulance attempted to transport him to Martin General Hospital in Williamston, but he succumbed to his injuries en route to the hospital.

Over 700 local, state and federal officers from across North
Carolina responded and surrounded the bank. The suspect, a known crack cocaine addict, became increasingly irrational. When a State Bureau of Investigation SWAT team attempted a rescue the following morning, the suspect was wounded and the female hostage was killed in an exchange of gunfire between the suspect and the officers. The suspect was taken to the state prison hospital in Raleigh NC, where he hanged himself several days later while awaiting trial on two counts of murder.

Sheriff Beach was a Korean War veteran of the U.S. Army Field Artillery and was the recipient of the Purple Heart. He had served as the Sheriff for two years and as a Deputy Sheriff for 26 years. He was survived by his wife and daughter.


  • Age 57
  • Tour 28 years
  • Badge 528
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; 9 mm
  • Offender Committed suicide

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Jesus Christ, during His earthly ministry, proclaimed, “Greater love has no one than this that someone lay down his life for his friends.” [John 15:13 ESV]

Chaplain Steven R. Closs, D.Div, MSBS, NCCA
Ordained/Licensed Independent Christian Clergy
Merrimack, NH 03054

Captain Steven R. Closs (Ret.)
Nashua NH Police Department

February 26, 2021

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