Sheriff John Phillip Kearbey

Sheriff John Phillip Kearbey

Butler County Sheriff's Department, Missouri

End of Watch Monday, May 17, 1915

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John Phillip Kearbey

Sheriff John Kearby succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained three days earlier while looking for a murder suspect in the railroad yards in Poplar Bluff, Missouri.

He and a constable had received information from railroad detectives that the man was hiding in a boxcar in the railroad yards. They were unable to find the man and were leaving the area when Sheriff Kearby noticed an unrelated subject sleeping by the railroad tracks. As he began to question the man about his identity the subject suddenly pulled out a revolver and opened fire on the officers, striking Sheriff Kearby in the abdomen.

Despite his wounds, Sheriff Kearby and the constable returned fire and killed the subject. Sheriff Kearby was taken to a local doctor. He died from his wounds three days later.

A juvenile who had been with Sheriff Kearby's killer identified him as the man who had murdered Chief Special Agent Thomas Logan, of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad Police Department, near Cairo, Illinois, on January 13th, 1914. The two had escaped from jail three weeks before the murderer's execution date.

Sheriff Kearby had served with the Butler County Sheriff's Department for two years and was survived by his wife and two children.


  • Age 39
  • Tour 2 years, 6 months
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Friday, May 14, 1915
  • Weapon Handgun; Revolver
  • Offender Shot and killed


Most Recent Reflection

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Time may have passed but you are not forgotten. I believe as long as someone remembers you or speaks your name, you are still with us.
Thank you for your heroism.
God Bless

Detention Officer A.Zambito

May 17, 2015

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