Patrolman Richey O'Brian Finch

Patrolman Richey O'Brian Finch

Forest Acres Police Department, South Carolina

End of Watch Thursday, February 21, 1974

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Richey O'Brian Finch

Patrolman Richey Finch was shot and killed during a traffic stop at 1:30 a.m. on Interstate 20 near State Highway 321. During the stop, one of the occupants ran to the patrol car and opened fire, killing Patrolman Finch. After the shooting, the three suspects fled and began to hitchhike on I-20.

Deputy Ernest Potter and his partner of the Kershaw County Sheriff's Department stopped the suspects several hours later when they observed them hitchhiking. As the deputies stepped out of their patrol car, one of the men opened fire, killing Deputy Potter and wounding his partner.

One suspect, 19, turned himself in to officers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, two weeks later. He was charged with the murder of Patrolman Finch, Deputy Potter, and the attempted murder of Deputy Potter's partner. A week earlier, another suspect, 19, turned himself in to the Richland County Sheriff's Department. He was charged with the shootings of the three officers. The third suspect, 24, surrendered to Columbia officers three weeks after the shootings.

On June 17, 1975, the older suspect was convicted of two counts of murder and sentenced to life plus 99 years. As of 2020, he was in prison. The other two were convicted of accessory to murder and sentenced to 10 years each.

Patrolman Finch was a United States Navy veteran and had served with the Forest Acres Police Department for over one year. He was survived by his wife, parents, sister, and two brothers.


  • Age 26
  • Tour 1 year, 5 months
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Sentenced to life

Most Recent Reflection

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Patrolman Finch,
On today, the 50th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice-not just for your Community but for our Country as well when you served with the U.S. Navy. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Fair Winds And Following Seas

BPA Mike Casey
United States Border Patrol(Retired)

February 21, 2024

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