Patrolman Ralph East

Patrolman Ralph East

Pilot Mountain Police Department, North Carolina

End of Watch Monday, February 3, 1969

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Ralph East

Officer East and Officer Branscome were killed when they stopped a vehicle occupied by four men wanted for armed robbery. The suspects had robbed two Forsyth County service stations, one in Winston-Salem, the other in Rural Hall. One suspect used a 22 caliber pistol to shoot both officers, then obtained Officer East's service weapon (38 caliber) and shot each officer again. The suspects were arrested in Winston-Salem a short time later.

The gunman was convicted of two counts of murder and received two death sentences on November 21, 1969. His sentence was commuted to two life prison sentences when the Supreme Court ruled all death sentences unconstitutional in 1972. He died in prison December 14, 2011.

The other three suspects received 10 years each for accessory to murder and an additional 30 to 40 years for armed robbery on November 21, 1969. One of the three was released from prison on July 18, 1985. Another one was released on November 24, 1992, and sent back to prison for 10 years on June 5, 2001, for armed robbery.

Officer East was survived by his five children.

Bio

  • Age 60
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .22 caliber
  • Offender Died in prison

Most Recent Reflection

View all 13 Reflections

Sir,
I remember you as a kid from when you and Dad worked together on cases. I remember well Dad's reaction when he learned of your death and when he later showed me where you and your partner were murdered. It was very sad and all so pointless. These criminals took away so much from so many. Rest in peace, Sir.

Special Agent-in-Charge [Retired] Jerry
Department of Defense

April 21, 2019

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