Fallen Heroes

In its nearly two hundred year existence the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office has paid the ultimate sacrifice on several occasions.


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Benjamin Paul Carden

Officer Benjamin Paul Carden

End of Watch: January 6, 1925

On January 6, 1925, Deputy Carden, a US Navy veteran, went with Deputy Hubert Randall to serve an arrest warrant for larceny on Benjamin Heyward in the Seabrook community of northern Beaufort County. Carden went to the front door while Randall covered the back. Randall recalled hearing Carden ask, "What are you going to do with that gun?" Then he heard a shotgun blast. When Randall got back to the front door he observed Heyward and his brother Willie Heyward running away across a field. They exchanged gunfire with Randall before escaping.

Willie Heyward was arrested in Pittsburgh in 1932 and later died in prison. Benjamin Heyward was arrested in Cincinnati in 1939. He was executed in the State Prison in 1942.

Twenty-three year old Carden was survived by a wife and child.

Elmo Frazier Langford

Officer Elmo Frazier Langford

End of Watch: June 6, 1927

Even though it was only 1927, reckless driving was a problem in Beaufort County. Deputy Langford received a complaint of reckless driving on Savannah Road. The complaint took him to the Grays Hill community in northern Beaufort County. Unable to locate the offending vehicle, Langford and another deputy went on to the Combahee River to take care of a boat floating adrift. Upon their return back through Grays Hill, they spotted the vehicle from the earlier pursuit at a family gathering adjacent to the ball field.

When Langford attempted to take the suspect into custody, the crowd rioted. Langford and his partner were overwhelmed. The partner was able to escape, but Langford was not as fortunate.  A group of individuals proceeded to "stab, beat, shoot and bite" him. By the time more backup arrived, Officer Langford was already dead, and the suspects had fled the scene.

Four men and one woman were later arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to death.  The sentences were commuted by the sitting Governor, as he did not feel "that the punishment fit the crime."

Thirty-eight year-old Langford was survived by his wife and three children.

Russell Bell

Deputy Sheriff Russell Richard Bell

End of Watch: April 17, 1990

Russell Bell, a retired Marine, former banker and avid golfer, chose to serve the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office later in his life. Assigned to the Civil Section, Bell was given court orders on April 17, 1990 to pick up Willie Brown for an involuntary commitment.

Bell transported Brown to Coastal Empire Mental Health in Beaufort. As they were walking out of the clinic, Brown yanked Bell's pistol from its holster and shot him two times, mortally wounding him.

Brown then fled on foot. He was shot and captured a short time later. He was found not guilty by reason of mental illness and lives on Hilton Head Island today.

Fifty-three year-old Bell was survived by a sister and a daughter.

Dyke

Corporal Dyke "A.J." Coursen

End of Watch: January 8, 2002

Deputies Dana Tate and Dyke Coursen responded to a domestic disturbance on Riley Road in the Burton area on January 8, 2002.

They were investigating a complaint of a young female and her child being held against their will by her boyfriend. As Tate and Coursen attempted to determine what was going on, the suspect, Tyree Roberts, opened fire with a military assault rifle from a hidden position inside a bedroom closet.

Coursen was killed instantly. Tate was able to draw his weapon and return fire, wounding Roberts. Tate was shot repeatedly by Roberts and died moments later.

Roberts was arrested about a mile away after a large manhunt. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to die by a Beaufort County jury.

Thirty-five year-old Coursen was survived by his wife and son.

Dana Tate

Lance Corporal Dana Tate

End of Watch: January 8, 2002

Deputies Dana Tate and Dyke Coursen responded to a domestic disturbance on Riley Road in the Burton area on January 8, 2002.

They were investigating a complaint of a young female and her child being held against their will by her boyfriend. As Tate and Coursen attempted to determine what was going on, the suspect, Tyree Roberts, opened fire with a military assault rifle from a hidden position inside a bedroom closet.

Coursen was killed instantly. Tate was able to draw his weapon and return fire, wounding Roberts. Tate was shot repeatedly by Roberts and died moments later.

Roberts was arrested about a mile away after a large manhunt. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to die by a Beaufort County jury.

Forty-four year-old Tate was survived by his wife and four children.