Each year since 2007, Tipton County’s law enforcement community has saluted the county’s fallen officers with a memorial service during police week, which is the week in which May 15, Peace Officers Memorial Day, falls.
This year’s ceremony was held on Friday, May 13 and honored the eight men who’ve given their lives in the line of service to Tipton County:
Deputy Charles M. Webb
End of watch: Oct. 17, 1907
Webb, 35, was shot and killed as he and another deputy attempted to serve a writ of lunacy on a suspect who had escaped from the state asylum the previous year.
As the deputies approached the man’s farm, the suspect fled into his bedroom, where he had hidden a double-barrel shotgun. Deputy Webb’s partner was able to force the door open, but was immediately shot in the shoulder and disabled. The suspect then fired the second shot at Deputy Webb, striking him in the shoulder and chest as he stood on the stairs.
Deputy Webb was able to walk to the front yard, where he collapsed and died. He was survived by a wife and child.
Deputy David W. Stewart
End of watch: May 2, 1915
Stewart was shot and killed while attempting to serve a warrant on Island 37 in the Mississippi River.
Several blind tigers and gambling houses were located on the island. Deputy Stewart, who lived on the island, was deputized in order to serve warrants to the operators of the establishments.
The murder occurred when one of the owners snuck up behind Deputy Stewart, who was deaf, and shot him in the back of the head in retaliation for his work as a deputy.
The suspect fled to Arkansas where he was apprehended.
Deputy Chester A. Doyle
End of watch: July 18, 1937
Doyle, 33, was shot twice in the back and killed as he and other officers raided the back room of a cafe where an illegal dice game was being held. He managed to return fire, killing one man and wounding another. A third man was arrested and charged with his murder.
Due to the threat of mob violence, the Tipton County Sheriff had the suspect transferred to the Memphis City Jail for safekeeping. A month later, the sheriff was returning with the suspect when six armed men forced his car off the road eight miles from Covington and seized his prisoner. The suspect’s bullet-riddled body was found hours later face down in a creek with a rope around his neck.
Doyle had served with the Tipton County Sheriff’s Office for nine years.
Deputy Michael Wilson Erwin
End of watch: Oct. 31, 1975
Erwin, 26, was struck and killed by a vehicle on Highway 51 in Atoka. Deputy Erwin was survived by his wife, daughter, parents, two sisters and grandmother.
Deputy Richard Lawrence Rose
End of watch: Nov. 29, 1988
Rose, 22, was shot and killed by his partner while on duty. His partner, Deputy Jimmy Hicks, and the sheriff at the time were under a federal investigation involving the agency’s training practices. Hicks was later found guilty of criminally negligent homicide.
Sgt. John Wayne Delashmit
End of watch: Nov. 4, 1991
Sergeant John DeLashmit suffered a fatal heart attack while jogging at the track as part of training for the department’s tactical unit.
He had just finished a firearms portion of the training and had started jogging when he collapsed.
Sergeant DeLashmit had served with the Covington Police Department for 23 years. He was survived by his wife.
Officer Charles Lanny Bridges
End of watch: Aug. 14, 1997
Sergeant Charles Bridges, 50, a 25-year veteran of the Covington Police Department, was killed and another officer was wounded when they were shot after responding to a possible suicide call at approximately 8 a.m. hours. Upon their arrival they knocked on the door and shots were fired from a window. A passerby and her dog were also shot and wounded.
The suspect committed suicide after barricading himself in the home for several hours.
Trooper Calvin Wayne Jenks
End of watch: Jan. 6, 2007
Trooper Calvin Jenks was shot and killed while conducting a traffic stop near the intersection of Highways 14 and 54 in Tipton County.
During the stop, Trooper Jenks smelled marijuana from the vehicle and was told by the driver that there were drugs in the center console. When he asked the passenger if he had any drugs, the man produced a handgun and opened fire, striking Trooper Jenks once in the head and once in the body.
In December 2007, one suspect was found guilty of the facilitation of first degree murder and was subsequently sentenced to life in prison. The second shooter also received a life sentence in June 2008.
Trooper Jenks’ body was found next to his patrol car by two hunters who were in the area. His patrol car’s video camera recorded the entire incident.
Trooper Jenks had served with the Tennessee Highway Patrol for almost three years. He is survived by his wife, parents, four brothers, a sister, grandparents and a large extended family.