Deputy Sheriff Ben McCullough

Deputy Sheriff Ben McCullough

Coffee County Sheriff's Department, Tennessee

End of Watch Saturday, August 10, 1935

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Ben McCullough

Deputy McCullough was shot and killed by a prisoner on a chain gang during an escape attempt. The prisoner had been sentenced to 30 days for stealing corn. The chain gang was passing the suspect's home when the suspect asked to be allowed to go inside and change. The request was granted and the suspect went into the home but emerged with a gun and opened fire, fatally wounding Deputy McCullough.

The 18-year-old suspect who fled the scene was apprehended on May 26, 1939, in Salt Lake City, Utah by FBI agents. On June 17, 1939, the suspect was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to 60 years in prison. On February 2, 1940, he escaped from the Coffee County Jail after he clubbed the Sheriff with a steel bar he pried off his cell door using metal slats from his cot. Two days earlier he was returned to the jail from the state prison, and there to remain pending the outcome of his appeal. He was captured several days later. The Tennessee Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal because of the escape. On June 10, 1949, Governor Gordon Browning commuted his sentence to 20 years.

Deputy McCullough was survived by his wife and twelve children.


  • Age 45
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Sentenced to 60 years

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God bless you

Nick mottola

August 10, 2020

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