Patrolman Rory Welch Key

Patrolman Rory Welch Key

Hernando Police Department, Mississippi

End of Watch Friday, June 28, 1974

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Rory Welch Key

Patrolman Key was shot and killed after responding to a shoplifting call. Upon arrival to the scene he was informed that the suspect was involved in a minor traffic accident. He located the suspect and ordered him out of his vehicle at gunpoint after several request for him to exit the car. As Patrolman Key began searching the suspect, the man spun around and shot Patrolman Key in the leg with a 9 mm handgun. Patrolman Key was able to return fire, striking the suspect.

The two men then positioned themselves on opposite sides a truck and had a shootout where Patrolman Key shot the suspect in the legs and waist, instead of in the chest, in attempt to wound the man. Patrolman Key's weapon jammed and the man jumped on top of the truck and shot him.

The suspect, 26, was apprehended by responding officers and subsequently sentenced to life in prison. In 1980 he was granted a new trial. The result of is unknown.

Patrolman Key had been with the agency for three years and is survived by his wife, three sons, and three daughters.


  • Age 61
  • Tour 3 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; 9 mm
  • Offender Sentenced to life

Most Recent Reflection

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Thank you for your service and please know that your sacrifice is one that will never, ever be forgotten. Rest in peace always.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

June 28, 2020

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