Sullivan County Sheriff's Office to honor fallen officers

J. H. Osborne • May 15, 2020 at 2:00 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office will host an online memorial service at 6 p.m. on Friday to honor county officers who have died in the line of duty. Eleven officers with the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office have made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives in the line of duty.

“The Fallen Officer Memorial Service is one way for our agency to honor its members that have given their lives in the line of duty,” Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy said. “We are forever grateful for their sacrifices, all made in the service to Sullivan County and its citizens. The Coronavirus pandemic has caused us to have to hold a virtual service this year; however, its meaning and purpose is not any less than if it was being held live.”

The service will be streamed on the sheriff’s office’s Facebook page.


In 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day, and the calendar week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week. Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.

Roll call of officers remembered 

Here's a list of those who made the ultimate sacrifice from Sullivan County's roster, with information on each as listed on the national Officer Down Memorial Page’s website:

• The last name added was Sgt. Steven Billie Hinkle, who died Feb. 26, 2019, from gunshot wounds he received three days earlier at a residence at 3606 Highway 11W. Deputies had responded to the residence to conduct a welfare check on an occupant. As they approached the home the occupant opened fire on them, causing them to seek cover. As the deputies attempted to establish communication with the man he opened fire a second time, striking Sergeant Hinkle during the exchange of gunfire. Hinkle had served with the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office for 27 years.

• Deputy Robert Bowlin Sr., 57, who died in 2016 — from complications of injuries he sustained in 2006. Bowlin was investigating a crash on Interstate 81 when a pickup truck drove off the roadway and struck him. He was never able to fully recover from his injuries and he died as a direct result of complications on Oct. 31, 2016. Bowlin had served 19 years.

• Before Bowlin's death, it had been 15 years since Sullivan County lost an officer — and it was two officers at once. Deputy Sheriff Stephen Dwight Riner, 45, and Reserve Deputy Barry Shelton, 40, died in a car wreck while answering a domestic call on Sept. 30, 2001.

• Deputy Steve Mullins, 41, was killed when he was struck by a vehicle on Nov. 22, 1995. The vehicle, reported stolen in another state, was being chased by members of another department. Deputy Mullins pulled his cruiser into the lane of traffic in which the van was traveling to protect the traffic ahead of him. The van crashed into the cruiser, knocking Deputy Mullins into the grill of a wrecker approximately 25 feet away. He was flown to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

• Sgt. Roscoe Teague, 56, had a fatal heart attack shortly after being involved in an altercation with two men during a traffic stop. He died on May 30, 1995.

• Deputy Glayton Mitchell Parker, was shot in the face and killed with a high-powered rifle while attempting to serve a misdemeanor warrant on May 31, 1990. The warrant was issued because the suspect failed to show up for a court-ordered mental evaluation.

• Sergeant Arthur Carroll Lane, 42, was struck and killed by a vehicle while conducting a roadblock to stop a stolen vehicle on Wadlow Gap Road. The driver of the vehicle struck Sergeant Lane as he stood outside of his patrol car.

• Constable Bruce Barker, 29, was shot and killed as he and several officers attempted to apprehend a fugitive from justice near Kingsport. The suspect opened fire on the officers, killing Barker. Other officers returned fire and wounded the suspect, who was arrested a short time later. Patrolman George Frazier of the Kingsport Police Department suffered a fatal heart attack during the shootout.

• Deputy Sheriff Hubert Webb, 25, was shot and killed April 13, 1925, as he and two other officers attempted to arrest a fugitive. The suspect was wanted for murdering Deputy Sheriff Murdock McIntosh of the Greene County Sheriff's Department, on Dec. 24, 1924. One of the other officers, Kingsport Patrolman John Smith, also was shot and killed.

• Special Deputy Lee S. Eldreth, 32, was shot and killed Christmas Day, 1907, while attempting to arrest a man who had broken into the post office in Harris, Tennessee. A warrant for the man's arrest was placed in the hands of a regular deputy, who deputized Eldreth to assist him.

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