Crimewatch: Police chief honors two officers killed 81 years ago

Two officers killed in the line of duty are being honored 81-years later. It's all because of a police chief's commitment to never forget those who came before him.

What is now the Granger National Bank, was the setting of a wild west-style shoot out in 1934 that left two law enforcement officers dead.

A teenager would lead the charge to put the gunman in jail.

The story has long faded from memory. Police Chief Bob Shelton only recently learned about it.

"The first day here I was doing a little cleaning in the office and I noticed Henry Lindsey's picture on the wall. It just said he was killed February 15, 1934," said Shelton.

Shelton passed the photo of former City Marshal Henry Lindsey every day. Curiosity got the best of him and he began doing research. He found out Lindsey was gunned down on the job. 

Shelton would also learn that Williamson County Constable Sam Moore was fatally shot by the same man.

Local historian Steve Raby says the two men picked up a man named Lewis Cernoch and brought him to face a justice of the peace for an unpaid fine.

"He didn't have any money and the judge told him you're going to have to sit the fine out in jail. He didn't like that so they took him into custody, but didn't handcuff him," said Raby.

Raby says Cernoch grabbed a pistol he'd hidden in his coat pocket and took aim at Lindsey.

"They got out to the outside here and he turned and fired at Marshal Lindsey. His car was parked where the sidewalk ends. Marshal Lindsey ran around the back of the car and Mr. Chernock chased him and shot him point blank in the chest," said Raby. "He walked back to the door over here and shot Constable Sam Moore. He returned fire, but missed."

Robbie says a 14 year old grabbed a window weight and went after Cernoch with a crowd of others behind him.

"This kid knocked him in the head and knocked him down and they were able to subdue him and get him down to the jail," said Raby.

The townspeople forcibly walked Cernoch to the city jail --which still stands today.

Cernoch was executed by electric chair the next year. 

Upon learning all of the details of that deadly day, Shelton decided to honor the officers.

"I couldn't let it simply be an anonymous photograph on a wall," Shelton said.

Two weeks ago Shelton had a monument placed at the site of the murders. Dignity Memorial Funeral Home donated it.

In September, Shelton will hold a dedication ceremony. Moore's granddaughter, who still has the gun he fired trying to defend his life, will be present.

"Unfortunately, we haven't found any living relatives of Lindsey, but he does have relatives. That's us. So that's why we're doing it," said Shelton.

What once may have been forgotten Shelton has written in stone.

"I remember where I came from," said Shelton. "We will remember our fallen heroes."

The dedication ceremony will be held at the Granger National Bank on Saturday, September 12th at 10 a.m. The honor guard will be present. So will Constable Moore's granddaughter. Chief Shelton plans to deliver a eulogy.
 

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