Deputy August Lee Edwards
Undersheriff Ira Wofford
Deputy Perry Chuculate
A fallen Sequoyah County deputy has been accepted to be included in the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial in Washington, D.C. The name of Deputy August Lee Edwards is the fourth Sequoyah County Sheriff's Deputy to be included in the memorial. Deputy Edwards and others will be remembered at a candlelight vigil to be held May 13 during National Police Week in Washington. Sequoyah County Sheriff Ron Lockhart said, "When I took over as sheriff we found four officers who were killed in the line of duty. Deputy Edwards is the final one to be accepted for the Fallen Officers National Memorial." All four are also in the state memorial to fallen officers. The others were Undersheriff Ira E. Wofford, and Deputies Perry Chuculate and Tom Hood. Wofford was killed, or his end of watch, was on Friday, Dec. 4, 1953. Chuculate's end of watch was on Friday, Aug. 27, 1926. Hood's body was found and his end of watch was on March 29, 1933.
Lockhart said the Sequoyah County Commissioners have approved a county memorial to fallen officers, which Lockhart said will cost about $4,000.
According to the Oklahoma Memorial, Deputy Sheriff August Lee Edwards, 32, and Gans Constable Luther Lewellen were looking on Christmas Eve 1925 for a black man named I.L. Martin, 22. Marten was reportedly seen carrying a revolver. At about 9 a.m. they located Martin and two other men in a buggy and advised Martin he was under arrest, Martin pulled his gun and shot Deputy Edwards once in the forehead, killing him instantly. Martin then escaped on foot into the brush but was arrested early the next morning, on Christmas Day, and charged with Deputy Edwards' murder. Edwards was survived by his wife, Danna, and their adopted daughter, Lois. Deputy Edwards was the great uncle of former Sallisaw Police Chief Shaloa Edwards, who said his family, including his father August, have served in law enforcement for three generations. Officer August Edwards was named for Deputy August Lee Edwards.
Sequoyah County Undersheriff Ira Wofford, 49, was killed Dec. 4, 1953, in an auto crash. Wofford and Oklahoma State Crime Bureau Agent Leonard Farris were transporting a prisoner, Frank Trotter, from Denver, Colorado back to Oklahoma where he was wanted for burglarizing a Sallisaw service station. East of Byers, Colorado, their vehicle hit an icy spot, went off the road and rolled several times. Wofford and Farris were ejected and the car rolled on top of them, pinning both officers. Trotter, still handcuffed, crawled out of the wreckage and attempted to lift the car off the officers. Failing in his attempt, he covered the officers with a blanket from the car and flagged down a passing motorist and asked them to summon help. Undersheriff Wofford died from his injuries before an ambulance could arrive. Just before he died, Wofford thanked Trotter for trying to help him and asked another officer to remove Trotter's handcuffs.
The body of Deputy Sheriff Tom Hood (no photo available) was found in a remote hilly region of northeastern Sequoyah County about four miles from Short on Tuesday morning, March 28, 1933. His body was found by his brother who began searching for him after he failed to return home Monday night. Deputy Hood had been shot in the face, head and left shoulder with Number 4 buckshot. Deputy Hood had left his home in Short late Monday afternoon, telling his family he was going to the "bluff" near where his body was found to look for moonshiners. A family living in the vicinity of the bluff said they heard several shots Monday night. Deputy Hood's body was near a whiskey still and cache which was within a few hundred yards of the farm home of Jim Tune. Tune and his son Jess were arrested for Deputy Hood's murder, but after two mistrials were found not guilty at a third trial.
Deputy Sheriff Perry Chuculate was shot and killed on Friday, Aug. 27, 1926. On that day Deputy Chuculate was one of a group of four officers searching for a stolen car about three miles west of Sallisaw. The officers saw a car approaching them at a high rate of speed. The officers blocked the highway with their car and the speeding car stopped some distance away. Deputy Chuculate started walking toward the car with a shotgun. The men in the other car, members of the Kimes gang of bank robbers who had just robbed a bank, opened fire on the officers with rifles, hitting Chuculate in the right arm and lung. Sixty rounds were exchanged during the gunfight until the officers ran out of ammunition. The gang members then took one of the other officers, who had been wounded, and a passing farmer hostage and left in the officer's car. The hostages were released near Van Buren, Arkansas. Deputy Chuculate died in the hospital shortly before 6 p.m. that afternoon. A wife, daughter and two sons survived him. Deputy Chuculate had served with the sheriff's office for two years. The two Kimes brothers were convicted of manslaughter for Deputy Chuculate's murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison. One of the brothers, Matthew Kimes, escaped from prison and continued his crime spree. During the following year Matthew Kimes continued robbing banks with the Cotton Top Walker Gang, which was responsible for the murders of Patrolman Coke Buchanan of the Borger (Texas) Police Department on March 19, 1927, of Deputy D.P. Kenyon and Deputy Almer Terry, both of the Hutchinson County (Texas) Sheriff's Department of April 1, 1927, and of Chief W.J. McAnnally of the Beggs Police Department on May 18, 1927.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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