Police Officer I Donnie Gene Kelley

Police Officer I Donnie Gene Kelley

Leland Police Department, Mississippi

End of Watch Sunday, February 26, 1978

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Donnie Gene Kelley

Officer Kelley was shot and critically wounded when he attempted to arrest three men who had robbed a grocery store near Vicksburg. Two suspects exited their vehicle and opened fire with shotguns when Officer Kelley pulled them over on Highway 61 in Leland. Officer Kelley was hit in the face with shotgun pellets fired through his windshield. Minutes later the three suspects were apprehended by the Leland police chief. Ten weeks later Officer Kelley died from his wounds.

It was later discovered the car they were driving was stolen and they had killed the owner and had thrown his body in a swamp near Belle Chase, Louisiana. On December 10, 1977, the three suspects, 16, 23, and 26, who shot Officer Kelley were convicted of aggravated assault on a police officer and sentenced to 30 years in prison. They received a life sentence for the armed robbery of the grocery store. On February 26, 1978, the same day that Officer Kelley died, the 26-year-old suspect attacked six prison guards, stabbing one with a knife. He was convicted of assault on a correctional officer and received an additional sentence.

Officer Kelley had served with the Leland Police Department for four years. He was survived by his wife, stepson, parents, and brother.

The bridge located at the interchange of U.S. Highway 61 and U.S. Highway 82 in Leland, Mississippi, was designated the "Donnie Gene Kelley Memorial Bridge."


  • Age 28
  • Tour 4 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Tuesday, September 20, 1977
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Sentenced to 30 years

arrest attempt

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Rest in peace Officer I Kelley.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

February 26, 2020

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