You are here

The Lawton police force, circa 1902, was helmed by legendary Old West lawman Heck Thomas, far left; his assistant police chief was the dapper Co. J.W. Hawkins, far right; and officers, from left, were Leka Hammon, Harry Foster and Bill Bruce. The photo was taken about two years before Hawkins was cut down in the streets by L.T. Russell, a former editor of The Lawton Daily Democrat.

PD closes case of missing fallen officer

A Lawton police officer has closed one very cold case.

Sgt. Jeremy Coe said that, following the publication of a story in last week's Lawton Constitution, he was able to find the final resting place of Col. J.W. Hawkins. Hawkins was the first Lawton police officer to be killed in the line of duty.

"I'm excited," Coe said. "He's in Timber Ridge Baptist Cemetery in rural Hall County, Ga."

Hall County is about 60 miles northeast of Atlanta.

The officer said Hawkins' great niece called him on April 13  110 years after Hawkins succumbed to a bullet wound. "I'm sure it's him," Coe said after discussing details and corroborating the personal information.

Coe has been hunting to find and recognize the city's four lawmen who fell in the line of duty  Hawkins, William "Will" Hayes, King Brown and Victor Robert Lee. He believes you honor those who fought and fell before you.

The search began in 2011 when Coe became curious about the men's final resting places. He thought they deserved to be honored. Once he heard about Coe's efforts, Deuce Gragg from Gragg Monument donated in-ground head stones for the officers' graves. After establishing where Hayes, Brown and Lee are resting at Highland Cemetery and getting their stones in place, he was left with the mystery of where Hawkins was buried. 

The lawman had left too interesting a tale for it to have been left incomplete: It was a bullet fired by a newspaperman that brought about Hawkin's demise. 

The Lawton Constitution

102 SW 3rd, Lawton, OK 73501
Classifieds: (580) 357-9545
Circulation: (580) 353-6397
Switchboard: (580) 353-0620