Police memorial unveiling delayed

Published 3:13 pm Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Plans to unveil a monument honoring fallen law enforcement officers have been postponed due to the threat of inclement weather.

The unveiling was scheduled for today.

“Because of the weather, we decided it was best to go ahead and move the unveiling to next week,” Greenville Police Chief Lonzo Ingram said. “There was just too much unknown with the weather.”

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Four new names have been inscribed on the memorial, which stands outside of Greenville’s City Hall.

The names of Greenville Police Officer George Bryan and Butler County Sheriff’s deputies William Henry Barganier, John T. Sanders, Sr. and John Timothy Williamson will be added to the monument, which already featured the names of Greenville Police Officers Joseph Herring and Gary Wayne Heath.

In 1904, Bryan was killed in the line of duty when he responded to a residence in the Till Community of Butler County to assist the Sheriff’s Office in serving a warrant on a suspect accused of burning down the Baptist church in Till. The suspect resisted and fired several shots. Officer Bryan was struck and critically injured. He died five days later.

Sanders was also killed while trying to apprehend a suspect in 1939.

He was transporting a prisoner back to Greenville by train when the man suddenly jumped from the moving train near Georgiana. Sanders jumped out of the train and tumbled down a steep embankment. While Sanders successfully recaptured the escapee, he later died from injuries suffered during his jump from the train.

In 1892, Barganier was killed while attempting to arrest a man wanted on multiple charges. When Barganier entered the boarding house where the man was staying, he was shot in the face and later died from the injuries.

In 2014, Williamson died from a massive heart attack in the line of duty.

“Adding these names to the monument will make sure they don’t get forgotten,” Ingram said. “That’s important. That’s why we call their names every year at our memorial service. We want to keep their memory alive.”

Ingram said that the families of Heath and Herring will be able to keep the original portion of the monument bearing their names.

In 1994, Heath was shot and killed after interrupting a robbery attempt at a local convenience store. The suspect later shot and killed Deputy Len J. Rowell, of the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department (Miss.) and Lt. Coy Smith of the Alabama Public Service Commission. The suspect committed suicide after being surrounded by officers.

Herring was thrown from his motorcycle while pursuing a fleeing vehicle on Hwy. 10 West in 1968.

The unveiling will now take place March 2 at 10 a.m.