Chief of Police Leonard J. Floyd

Chief of Police Leonard J. Floyd

Boaz Police Department, Alabama

End of Watch Thursday, May 17, 1951

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Leonard J. Floyd

Chief of Police Leonard Floyd, Sheriff E.M. Boyles, and Chief Deputy Bennett of the Marshall County Sheriff's Department were shot and killed while attempting to serve a warrant at a farmhouse on a man, 40, for assault with intent to kill a neighbor.

As the three and another deputy reached the suspect's farmhouse, he came out with a rifle, firing rapidly at the officers as they were getting out of their car. All four returned fire, killing the suspect. As the suspect fell, his 16-year-old son grabbed the rifle. Firing rapidly from the hip, he brought down all four lawmen. Chief Floyd and Sheriff Boyles were dead without drawing their weapon. Chief Deputy Bennett, shot through the left temple, the bullet exiting his right jaw, managed to get the seriously wounded deputy into the car and drove into Boaz, sounding the alarm. Chief Deputy Bennett died in a hospital three hours later.

The boy and two men in the home were arrested and charged with three counts of murder. The wounded deputy said shots not only came from the youth but also from two different windows. Yet charges were dropped against the two men, and only the youth was tried. The wife of the dead man, also the youth's mother, said the officers fired first. Over the next two years, four trials ended with hung juries. Just as his fifth trial was about to begin, a plea bargain resulted in a 10-year prison sentence. He was paroled on December 24, 1957. His mother spent $27,000.00 on his trials. To this day, it has been argued, "Was it murder or self-defense?".

Chief Lloyd was a United States WWII veteran and had served as the Chief of Police with the Boaz Police Department for two years. He was survived by his wife, son, and daughter.


  • Age 32
  • Tour 2 years
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Rifle; .32 caliber carbine
  • Offender Paroled in 1957


Most Recent Reflection

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Leonard Floyd was my great uncle. I never had the privilege of meeting the man, but everyone that I have spoken to said he was like Andy Taylor on Mayberry. I had the privilege of working with the man that was his shooter. If ever a man truly attempted to make amends, he did. Until his dying day the young shooter would weep at the thought of what happened that day. His family went on to write a book about the way thing transpired on that day. It is really a sad story all the way around. I can tell you that there is no doubt in my mind that the young man that shot Uncle Leonard, is enjoying the same Heaven as him. Even as my Aunt Opal was on her death bed, she made sure that the man knew that she felt no ill will towards him. Forgiveness is a great thing.

Justin Coppett
Great Nephew of Leonard Floyd

March 24, 2024

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