Patrol Officer Robert B. Hatchell

Patrol Officer Robert B. Hatchell

Petersburg Bureau of Police, Virginia

End of Watch Sunday, July 18, 1943

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Robert B. Hatchell

Patrol Officer Robert Hatchell was shot and killed with his own weapon following a brief vehicle pursuit of a stolen vehicle.

The stolen car went over an embankment near the back of the old Petersburg Hospital and the driver fled on foot. Officer Hatchell had chased the man into a ravine and was bringing him back up to Washington Street when the man was able to disarm and shoot him.

Two passengers in the car identified the driver who was later arrested and charged with Officer Hatchell's murder. He was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. On October 13th, 1945, his sentence was commuted to life. Later evidence surfaced that pointed to the suspect's innocence. The two passengers, who at the time of the incident said they hitched a ride with the suspect, could no longer be located. He was pardoned by Governor John Battle on December 23rd, 1952.

Officer Hatchell had served with the Petersburg Police Department for 15 years. He was survived by his wife, three children, and three sisters.


  • Age 45
  • Tour 15 years
  • Badge 7

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Pardoned in 1952

stolen vehicle

Most Recent Reflection

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Officer Hatchell,
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 Petersburg. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

July 18, 2018

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