Smith County Courthouse in Tyler, Texas

Smith County, Texas

Smith County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 209,714. Its county seat is Tyler. Smith County is named for James Smith, a general during the Texas Revolution.


LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES IN SMITH COUNTY

POLICE DEPARTMENTS

Arp, Arp I.S.D.,Bullard, Lindale, Lindale I.S.D., Noonday City Marshal,  Troup, Tyler, Tyler I.S.D., Tyler City Marshal, Tyler Jr. College, and Whitehouse

SMITH COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE IN TYLER

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SERVICE IN TYLER

SMITH COUNTY CONSTABLES, PRECINCTS 1-5

Robert Leo Britton

End of Watch Monday, March 28, 2011

Deputy Sheriff Robert Britton succumbed to injuries sustained four days earlier when he was attacked by an injured cow while directing traffic around the animal.

He had responded to the scene after a vehicle struck and injured the cow on Farm Road 344. As he directed traffic around the animal it charged him and knocked him into the air. He landed on his head and suffered severe head injuries. The cow continued attacking him until other deputies were able to pull him to safety.

Deputy Britton was transported to East Texas Medical Center where he remained until succumbing to his injuries.

Deputy Britton had served with the Smith County Sheriff's Office for 19 years. He is survived by his two children.


Bio

Age 54

Tour 19 years

Badge 54


Incident Details

Cause Animal related

Dale David Geddie

Smith County Constable's Office - Precinct 4, Texas

End of Watch Wednesday, June 7, 2006


Constable Dale Geddie was shot and killed while he and a deputy from the Smith County Sheriff's Department responded to a domestic disturbance on Pine Springs Drive.

The male subject opened fire on both officers with a rifle, fatally wounding Constable Geddie and severely wounding the deputy.

The suspect barricaded himself in the home for several hours. He was shot and killed by members of the Tyler Police Department SWAT team as he emerged from the home with the rifle.

Constable Geddie's uncle, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Warden Ronnie L. Germany, was shot and killed on Sunday, July 29, 1973.

Constable Geddie had served as the elected constable for Precinct 4 for 18 months, and had previously served as a deputy for the Smith County Sheriff's Department for 11 years. He is survived by his wife, son, stepson, parents, and sister.


Bio

Age 45

Tour 12 years, 6 months


Incident Details

Cause Gunfire

Weapon Rifle

Offender Shot and killed

Walter Leroy Terry

Smith County Sheriff's Office, Texas

End of Watch Saturday, October 12, 1985


Deputy Walter Terry succumbed to injuries sustained when he was thrown from his horse while participating in a parade. He was transported to Medical Center Hospital in Tyler where he was pronounced dead.

Deputy Terry was a US Army veteran. He had served with the Smith County Sheriff's Department for several years and had previously served with the Whitehouse Police Department. He was survived by his wife, daughter, two stepchildren, four grandchildren, mother, and brother.


Bio

Age 46

Tour 2 years


Incident Details

Cause Animal related

Eugene Verdall Vickers

Tyler Police Department, Texas

End of Watch Friday, March 29, 1963

Patrolman Eugene Vickers was struck and killed by a vehicle at 2200 hours while measuring skid marks at the scene of an earlier accident.

Eugene Vickers was working his last shift before taking several days off in preparation of his wife giving birth. His son was born the day after his funeral.


Bio

Age 26


Incident Details

Cause Struck by vehicle


Milus F. NIchol

Patrolman Milus Nichol was killed in an automobile accident as he and his partner attempted to stop a speeding car. 

A dump truck pulled onto the road in front of them at the intersection of Highway 69 and Loop 323. Patrolman Nichol's patrol car struck the truck, causing him to suffer fatal injuries.


Bio

Age 23


Incident Details

Cause Automobile crash

Officer Name

Tyler Police Department, Texas

End of Watch Sunday, May 8, 1955


Patrolman Burl Whittington was killed during a high speed pursuit on South Broadway. He was conducting a special speed enforcement operation due to recent complaints about speeders. He had attempted to stop a car and was led on a chase reaching 95 mph. His patrol car hit a dip in the road and went out of control. The vehicle struck a tree, causing Patrolman Whittington to suffer fatal injuries. Three juveniles were later arrested for their part in the chase.

Burl Whittington had been employed with the Tyler Police Department for 17 months and is survived by his wife and son.


BIO

Age 24

Tour 1 year, 4 months


Incident Details

Cause Vehicle pursuit

Weapon Automobile


Offender Arrested

Jeff Buie

Tyler Police Department, Texas

End of Watch Wednesday, June 26, 1946


Patrolman Jeff Buie was stabbed to death while confronting a man on a city bus. The suspect had been ordered to the back of the bus by the driver but cursed at the driver. Patrolman Buie, who was in plainclothes, then ordered the man off of the bus. The suspect pulled out a knife and stabbed Patrolman Buie three times. Patrolman Buie was able to shoot and wound the suspect but also wounded two passengers. Although wounded, he chased the suspect several blocks before collapsing. The suspect was arrested three days later after being wounded in a police shootout.

Jeff Buie had been employed with the Tyler Police Department for 13 months and was the first officer from his agency killed in the line of duty. 

He was survived by his wife.


Bio

Age 46

Tour 1 year


Incident Details

Cause Stabbed

Weapon Edged weapon; Knife

Offender Arrested

Marion D. Norton

Smith County Sheriff's Office, Texas

End of Watch Tuesday, July 18, 1882


Deputy Sheriff Marion D. Norton was in the sheriff's office when Sheriff Butler directed Deputy Norton to attend to some business in the jail. As Deputy Norton was preparing to leave the sheriff's office he picked up his pistol from a table. The pistol dropped and discharged, the bullet passed through Norton's body, killing him.

Marion Norton was a former Texas Ranger. He was single and was survived by his mother, Sarah C. Norton, and several brothers and sisters. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Tyler, Texas.


Bio

Age 22


Incident Details

Cause Gunfire (Accidental)

Jourden Alexander Morris

Smith County Sheriff's Office, Texas

End of Watch Saturday, October 8, 1881


Deputy Jourden Morris approached a crowd of drunken men in front of Andy Harper's Saloon in Lindale. He attempted to get two of the men to quit creating a disturbance. Three brothers, Jesse Starnes, Pleasant Starnes and Warren Starnes, and Bob Billips [aka: Billups] were in the crowd. Billips and one of the Starnes brothers told Deputy Morris he could not arrest them. Pleasant Starnes then hit Deputy Morris in the head with some object. Morris was then able to cut Pleasant Starnes with a knife. Deputy Morris was then shot twice in the back and once in the foot with a pistol. Jourden Morris died from the gunshot wounds and blows to the head. All four suspects were indicted for murder. Jesse Starnes was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to five years in prison. Pleasant Starnes was found not guilty by a jury. The charges against Warren Starnes were dismissed in January 1884, at the request of the Smith County District Attorney. Bob Billips was never arrested and tried for the murder of Deputy Morris.

Morris was survived by his wife, Sarah, and three children. He is buried in the Morris Cemetery, Smith County, Texas.


Bio

Age 30


Incident Details

Cause Gunfire

Weapon Handgun

Offender Not available

Duff G. Williams

Smith County Sheriff's Office, Texas

End of Watch Thursday, August 26, 1869


Little is known as to why Deputy Sheriff Duff G. Williams confronted Brown and Gus Mosely. The Smith County murder indictment record dated August 27, 1869 reported in part:

On August 26, 1869 in Smith County...Duff Williams acting as the special deputy sheriff of said County of Smith in the discharge of his duties as such deputy sheriff was feloniously and willfully attacked by Brown and Gus Mosely. Deputy Williams was shot twice with a double barrel shotgun and died instantly...

Deputy Williams was survived by his wife Susan K. Williams and one son, Harry H. Williams. No cemetery records have been located.


Bio

Age 31


Incident Details

Cause Gunfire

Weapon Shotgun

Offender Not available

David Neil

Smith County Sheriff's Office, Texas

End of Watch Saturday, September 27, 1851


Sheriff John N. McKinley arrested Joseph Pierce with a warrant charging Pierce with assault with intent to commit murder. Sheriff McKinley placed Pierce in the log jail house at Old Canton, in southeast Smith County. Threats were made by relatives and friends of Pierce to rescue him from the custody of the sheriff. The sheriff assembled a posse to guard the jail. During the attack on the jail a shootout and fight with knives and an axe resulted in the death of Deputy Sheriffs David Neil and James Holden. Sheriff McKinley and Posseman Thomas Brock were wounded. A bystander was killed when a bullet went though a door. Among the attackers, Robert Pierce and Isaac Moore were shot and killed, and Peter Crawford was severely wounded but escaped. Robert Pierce was reportedly the attacker who killed the two deputy sheriffs.

Peter Crawford was charged with the murder of Deputy Sheriff Neil and Joseph Pierce was charged with the assault with intent to kill Sheriff McKinley. The records also show that from 1852 to 1857, numerous unsuccessful attempts were made to locate and arrest Peter Crawford and Joseph Pierce.

David Neil was survived by his wife and two children. No cemetery records for the burial location have been located.


Bio

Age 27


Incident Details

Cause Gunfire

Weapon Unknown weapon

Offender Not available

James Holden

Smith County Sheriff's Office, Texas

End of Watch Saturday, September 27, 1851

Sheriff John N. McKinley arrested Joseph Pierce with a warrant charging Pierce with assault with intent to commit murder. Sheriff McKinley placed Pierce in the log jail house at Old Canton, in southeast Smith County. Threats were made by relatives and friends of Pierce to rescue him from the custody of the sheriff. The sheriff assembled a posse to guard the jail. During the attack on the jail a shootout and fight with knives and an axe resulted in the death of Deputy Sheriffs David Neil and James Holden. Sheriff McKinley and Posseman Thomas Brock were wounded. A bystander was killed when a bullet went though a door. Among the attackers, Robert Pierce and Isaac Moore were shot and killed, and Peter Crawford was severely wounded but escaped. Robert Pierce was reportedly the attacker who killed the two deputy sheriffs.

Peter Crawford was charged with the murder of Deputy Sheriff Neil and Joseph Pierce was charged with the assault with intent to kill Sheriff McKinley. The records also show that from 1852 to 1857, numerous unsuccessful attempts were made to locate and arrest Peter Crawford and Joseph Pierce.

James Holden was survived by his wife and three children. No cemetery records or the burial location have been located.

Bio

Age 29


Incident Details

Cause Gunfire

Weapon Unknown weapon

Offender Charged but not apprehended