At midnight on February 7, 1903, Bristol Tennessee Police Officer Houston Childress was shot to death by Bristol Virginia Police Officer Grat Walk.
It happened on State Street due to animosity. There was a quarrel between the two. Walk hid for a week before surrendering for arrest. Held without bond, Walk was placed in the Sullivan County jail in Blountville. He managed to gain the confidence of jailers by providing information about an attempted jailbreak. One night, he was allowed to step outside for a breather following complaints of being ill. He disappeared for 7 years.
Trial & Sentencing
In 1910, Walk was finally arrested in Spokane, Washington and was returned for trial. Walk was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison. After serving part of his sentence, Walk was released and later killed in a railroad crossing accident.
Officer Clarence Luther Maines
Clarence Maines died at King's Mountain Hospital on October 25, 1926, after being shot by Jake Shankle.
Maines arrested Shankle on public intoxication charges and failed to find a small gun in Shankle's pocket. Near the Police Station, without warning, Shankle fired a shot into Maines' side. In bad shape, but capable of hitting Shankle over the head and knocking him down, Maines sat on Shankle, pinning him to the ground until help arrived.
Trial & Sentencing
On February 2, 1927, Shankle was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Shankle reportedly died in prison.
Officer Jackie Phillips was killed in a single vehicle accident around 5:30 a.m. on October 1, 1988. His patrol car ran off the roadway on Anderson Street and struck an embankment on Beaver Creek. The vehicle overturned into the creek. Phillips died before fellow officers arrived. Phillips had been with the Bristol Police Department only 14 months.
On February 13, 1996, Bristol Tennessee K-9 Sgt. Boris, was killed in the line of duty. Boris was shot while assisting in the apprehension of suspects who had shot at a local resident and another officer. Officers were called after a drive-by shooting was reported. Four suspects wrecked their vehicle and fled on foot. Two were apprehended without incident. Officer Gary Privette pursued the remaining suspects who fired at least 12 rounds from a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol in response. Sgt. Boris assisted officers in tracking the suspects. They opened fire, killing Sgt. Boris.
Prior to the incident, Sgt. Boris and his handler, Officer Harold Tucker, had spent many hours visiting elementary schools. The community's love for him was expressed in generous donations that helped the Police Department purchase additional K-9 assistance.
On the evening of November 27, 2004, Officer Mark Vance entered a residence on Belmont Drive to investigate a reported domestic disturbance. Upon entering the home, Officer Vance was shot and killed. A suspect was arrested on the scene.
Officer Vance was an officer with attributes that are rarely seen in law enforcement. To say he was a dedicated and committed officer is only a small reflection of his contribution to the City of Bristol and the community. He was a quiet man of few words who enforced the law with discretion and enthusiasm. Treating people with dignity and respect was the benchmark he set for all officers and it is his legacy to the Department.