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Nick Lee Jul 29

On this day in 1919, Sheriff John W. Sparks of Cullman County was shot and killed while attempting to make an arrest at a downtown apartment. He and Chief of Police C.B. Graves of the Cullman Police Department had gone to the apartment in search for a suspect. When they arrived at the location, a female refused to let the sheriff in. The sheriff and chief cut their way through a screen door and the sheriff entered first, once inside he was confronted by the suspect.

The sheriff and the suspect both told each other to drop their weapons, and then immediately fired at each other. The suspect was killed instantly and Sheriff Sparks was mortally wounded. He was able to walk to a local drug store where he died approximately one hour later.

Chief Graves was appointed to serve as Sheriff of Cullman County for the rest of Sheriff Sparks’ term and was later killed in the line of duty in 1932 while serving as a Police Officer for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad.

Sheriff Sparks had been sworn in as sheriff only 6 months earlier and had served in law enforcement for over 5 years. He had previously served as the first Chief of Police for the City of Cullman. He was survived by his wife and two daughters.

From Alabama Law Enforcement Daily Memorial