A sheriff’s deputy was ambushed and gunned down in cold blood while on the scene of a domestic disturbance call.
Hardin County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Matthew Locke, 30, was killed in the line of duty on September 25th after a gunman opened fire while Locke was assisting another deputy with a domestic disturbance call.
The incident occurred just after 8:30 p.m. in the 3000-block of Nance Bend Road in Clifton, Tennessee.
Hardin County deputies were called to the home where the domestic disturbance had taken place, and made contact with a man who was armed with a handgun. That man was later identified as 48 year old Todd Alan Stricklin.
Deputies ordered Stricklin to drop his weapon, but he refused to comply. When Deputy Locke arrived on the scene to assist, the suspect opened fire.
After shooting Locke, Stricklin fled on foot into the woods. Several hours later, he was found by troopers from the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
Deputy Locke was rushed to the hospital, but later died from his wounds.
Stricklin has been charged with first degree murder.
“Upon learning the details of the shooting, I have activated the death penalty team who will be reviewing the evidence and charges to determine if this shooting of a law enforcement officer meets the standard for a capital murder crime,” Hardin County District Attorney Matthew Stowe told local news outlet WSMV.
The district attorney stated that he “will not allow murder to go unpunished,” regardless of what is going on in other parts of the country.
“While other parts of the country struggle with unlawfulness and activists who encourage violence against police, the people of our West Tennessee district stand firm in support for our officers and the rule of law,” Stowe added.
In a press release, Hardin County Sheriff Johnny Alexander informed the public of his deputy’s death, writing:
“Last night, Hardin County Sheriff Deputy Matthew Locke was assisting another deputy regarding a domestic disturbance call when he was senselessly fired upon. Deputy Locke ultimately succumbed to the injuries he tragically sustained while serving and protecting his community with honor and distinction.”
“We remember Deputy Locke for his selfless dedication, absolute courage and unparalleled commitment,” the sheriff wrote. “Our country has lost a warrior. Our community has lost a hero. Our department has lost a brother. We will never forget Deputy Locke, and we are all forever in debt for his sacrifice.”
“On behalf of myself and everyone with the Hardin County Sheriff’s Department, we express our deepest condolences to members of Deputy Locke’s family, his friends and loved ones,” he added. “I also want to express my support, care and concern for all members of the Hardin County Sheriff’s Department, the City of Savannah Police Department and our surrounding colleagues from other departments, as you are unfairly forced to mourn this tragic loss.”
Hardin County Mayor Kevin Davis also released a statement about Locke’s death, calling the deputy a “soldier who served his community and his country with honor, courage, commitment, dedication and devotion.”
“Deputy Locke was known to be a fearless warrior with a servant’s heart,” Davis added. “Our community has lost a hero, and a family will never be the same, all because of this senseless tragedy.”
Deputy Matthew Locke leaves behind his wife and young child, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.