Chief of Police Matthew W. Murphy

Chief of Police Matthew W. Murphy

Columbus Police Department, Georgia

End of Watch Saturday, December 26, 1874

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Matthew W. Murphy

Chief Matthew Murphy was shot and killed as he and several Columbus police officers attempted to arrest two brothers on Crawford Street near the Springer Opera House for using obscene language. As the officers talked with the two, one of the men suddenly pulled a gun but was disarmed by one of the officers. The gun was handed to Chief Murphy but the man suddenly pulled a second gun from his coat. Chief Murphy and the man both fired at the same time and Chief Murphy was struck in the chest.

The chief's shot missed the suspect. The other officers fired at the fleeing suspects, striking the shooter in the back. The two were arrested and the wounded suspect died a short time later. The remaining suspect was later hanged for his involvement in the incident.

At the time of the incident the Columbus Police Department did not have an acting chief. Chief Murphy, who had also served in the Confederate Army, was a marshal for the Muscogee County Marshal's Office. That office was responsible for overseeing the operations of the police department, and Chief Murphy was assigned as the City Marshal for Columbus.


  • Age 32
  • Tour 10 years
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Shot and killed


Most Recent Reflection

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Rest in Peace Sir

Anrae G Godley-Cooper
U.S. Army Military Police

July 18, 2020

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