Jacksonville fallen officer remembered

Published on Sunday, 9 February 2014 22:27 - Written by Kelly Gooch, kgooch@tylerpaper.com


More than 30 years ago, Jacksonville police patrol officer Roscoe Lee stepped out to respond to a call but ended up losing his life.

The call — to “a man and a gun” — came in June 1979, according to Lee’s biography. Lee, and other officers, responded to the location, a pool hall at Lincoln and Main streets.

“When the officers arrived at the scene, they encountered a man with a shotgun pacing back and forth,” the biography states. “The officers immediately took cover and then attempted to talk the man into putting his weapon down. Officer Lee, who was behind a patrol car, raised up to get a clearer view but was shot through the open windows of the patrol car. Officer Lee was struck in the face, fatally wounding him, and was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later.”

Lee was 43.

Jacksonville Police Administrative Assistant Nancy Jackson described the officer as a “happy-go-lucky kind of guy.”

“He was well respected by everybody,” Ms. Jackson said. “They knew when he meant business. He could be tough when he needed to be, but didn’t have that nature about himself. He was just a very good officer.”

As far as Lee’s death, “It was just one of those stunners,” she said.

“It just brought everything to a reality of how quick, and how fast it could be taken away from you,” she added.

Lee’s daughter, Mary Story, 53, was 18 when her father died.

She said her father didn’t talk a lot about his police work with her and was “quiet” and “low key.”

She said he also was a dedicated worker. He had a lawn service and served as a bus driver for Jacksonville ISD, she said.

“He was dedicated to the department, but had other things he did almost every day,” she added.

Ms. Story also described her father as a “sweet person” who was not overprotective, but “made his presence known.”

Additionally, she said, her father was “all about integrity.”

“Right was right. ... He didn’t go in the gray,” she said.

Today, the police department still gives out an award in honor of Lee and Randy Zimmerman, another fallen Jacksonville officer, Ms. Jackson said.

Ms. Story said Lee’s image also can be found in the Cherokee County Courthouse.