Smith County/Peace Officers Memorial - Fallen officers honored downtown

Published on Thursday, 15 May 2014 20:49 - Written by Kenneth Dean

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Christy Carty-Mock said Thursday during the annual Smith County Peace Officer's Memorial the past eight years have been trying for her children: Maddy, 10, and Justice, 9.

They lost their father, Jimmy Carty Jr., when he suffered a fatal blow during training at the Department of Public Safety academy in 2006. 

Maddy said she is happy the officers remember those, like her father, who died in  the line of duty. 

"It's cool," she said. 

Mrs. Carty-Mauk said Carty's photos and plaques are around the home, and they plan on making the trip to Washington, D.C., next year for the kids to see the Officer Memorial Wall, which includes all peace officers killed in the line of duty across the United States. 

The service Thursday remembered the 14 officers killed in the line of duty in Smith County since the mid-1800s and the 13 officers killed in the line of duty in Texas from May 15, 2013, through May 15 of this year. 

Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith said he was thankful for the turnout and the weather Thursday. He said he hopes the officers would be remembered on a daily basis and not just once a year. 

The service included a three-volley salute, taps, the reading of the names of fallen officers in Smith County and Texas, honor guards and the riderless horse, which symbolizes fallen officers. 

Fallen local officers include Smith County sheriff's deputies David Neal and James Holden, who were killed in a shootout Sept. 27, 1851, when family members attempted to break a man out of jail being held for attempted murder. Three other men were killed, and Sheriff John N. McKinley was seriously injured when he was attacked with an axe during the incident.

Sheriff's Deputy Duff G. Williams was shot and killed on Aug. 26, 1869, when two men assaulted the deputy with a double-barrel shotgun. He reportedly died instantly.

Other officers killed in the line of duty in Smith County include:

According to reports, Sheriff's Deputy Marion D. Norton, a former Texas Ranger, had been in the jail on some business, and when he retrieved his pistol from a table, it dropped to the floor, killing him. The incident also was in the late 1800s. He was the son of a former district state judge.

Tyler police officer M.J. Buie on June 26, 1946, was stabbed on a bus during a domestic dispute. He later died of his injuries.

Tyler officer Burl Whittington, 24, was killed in a car wreck during a pursuit on Mother's Day in 1955.

Tyler officer M.F. Nichol, 24, died from injuries he suffered in a wreck during a pursuit on Oct. 12, 1962.

Tyler officer Eugene Vickers died shortly before 8 p.m. on March 29, 1963, when he was struck by a vehicle while investigating a traffic accident.

FBI Special Agent Charles Brown was killed July 5, 1973, while he was en route to investigate a case. Brown's vehicle was crushed when a gasoline transporter overturned.

DPS trooper Dan Higdon was killed in March 1983 during a traffic stop on Interstate 20 east of Farm-to-Market Road 2015. Higdon and another trooper stopped two tractor-trailers. One of the trucks rolled back and pinned Higdon and one of the truck drivers between the two trucks. Both men were killed.

Smith County Sheriff's Deputy Walt Terry was killed in 1986 when he was thrown from his horse during a parade.

Smith County Constable Dale David Geddie was shot to death when he answered a domestic dispute call on June 7, 2006.

Smith County Deputy Robert Britton was killed by an injured cow while directing traffic on March 28, 2011.