Patrolman William Leon Gooding

Patrolman William Leon Gooding

Charleston County Police Department, South Carolina

End of Watch Saturday, March 27, 1948

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William Leon Gooding

Patrolman Leon Gooding was shot and killed after he and his partner arrested a man on the John Island railroad tracks who had escaped from the South Carolina state mental hospital a month earlier.

They confiscated a rifle from the man but failed to locate a .22 caliber pistol. As the officers drove the man to jail on Doughty Street, he produced the pistol and shot both officers, killing Patrolman Gooding.

The 30-year-old suspect was declared insane and was sent to the state penitentiary without a trial. He remained there until 1973, when he was removed to a state hospital because he refused to allow doctors to amputate his leg, which was infected with gangrene. His case was very complicated. He and his attorneys argued for years that he needed to be in a mental hospital, but state officials argued he was too dangerous and prison was the best place for him.

He had served with the Charleston County Police Department for five years. He was survived by his wife, two brothers, and two sisters.

He is buried at Riverview Memorial Park, North Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina.


  • Age 48
  • Tour 5 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .22 caliber
  • Offender Declared insane

arrest attempt, escapee

Most Recent Reflection

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Patrolman Gooding,
On today, the 75th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Charleston County. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

March 27, 2023

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