Sergeant David Lee Lilly

Sergeant David Lee Lilly

Beckley Police Department, West Virginia

End of Watch Monday, May 12, 1975

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David Lee Lilly

Sergeant Lilly was shot and killed during a traffic stop at the intersection of Route 19/21 bypass and New Raleigh Road shortly before midnight. As Sergeant Lilly spoke with the driver of the vehicle he was shot twice by the man, who was armed with a .32 caliber pistol. The man had been suspected of being involved in the robbery of a coin store earlier in the day.

After shooting Sergeant Lilly, the suspect, 32, fled the scene in the officer's patrol car.

The suspect fled the area but was apprehended in Wayne, New Jersey, twelve days later. He was returned to West Virginia, found guilty of first degree murder, and sentenced to life in prison. On November 7, 1979, the suspect and several other prisoners escaped from the West Virginia State Penitentiary in Moundsville. During the escape attempt the suspect shot and killed Trooper Philip Kesner, of the West Virginia State Police, using a gun stolen from a prison guard during the escape.

The suspect was on the run for two years, until being arrested in New York City following a shootout with federal agents. During the time he was on the run he murdered an elderly man in Arizona. He was returned to West Virginia to complete several life sentences. As of June 15, 2023, the man, now 80, is in the Mount Olive Correctional Complex.

Sergeant Lilly had served with the agency for 6.5 years. He was survived by his wife and child.


  • Age 30
  • Tour 6 years, 6 months
  • Badge 215

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Not available

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Rest in peace.

Lt. Jim Russo

November 11, 2018

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