Patrol Officer Robert B. Hatchell

Patrol Officer Robert B. Hatchell

Petersburg Police Department, Virginia

End of Watch Sunday, July 18, 1943

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 old Petersburg Hospital and the driver fled on foot. During the foot pursuit Officer Hatchell was shot and killed.

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.


  • Age 45
  • Tour 15 years
  • Badge 7

Incident Details

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

Most Recent Reflection

View all 5 Reflections

Uncle Robert, Annie, your sister was my grandma & best friend. I knew of you my whole life & you were always talked about & never forgotten. I also remember the family never thought that man shot you & sure enough he didn't. I wish I could have known you but I did know a lot of your family. I grew up with them. I am trying to figure out how to get the law passed that President John F. Kennedy & George W. Bell, Officer Down Memorial Page, called Proclamation 3537. I think there should be a holiday actually taken off each year on May 15th like the President wanted. I am trying & from heaven you will see. This is also for Grandma Annie Hatchell. She would be so pleased. Although I never got to meet you, I love you. You are my uncle!

Patricia Storey

January 28, 2017

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