The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office remembers the following deputies who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty:
Special Deputy Vernie Melford Roberts
Special Deputy Roberts was shot and killed with his own weapon while transporting a juvenile prisoner from one juvenile facility to another. Deputy Roberts was driving and his wife, who was also a reserve deputy, was in the front passenger seat.
The suspect, who was in the back seat, was somehow able to reach from the back seat and grab Deputy Roberts' wife around the neck. He then demanded that Deputy Roberts pull the vehicle over and surrender his gun. After stopping, and exiting the vehicle a struggle ensued and the suspect gained control of the weapon and shot Deputy Roberts twice.
Deputy Roberts was flown to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. His wife was uninjured.
The suspect then stole the unmarked cruiser but was later captured after a short manhunt. He was tried as an adult, convicted of first-degree murder on January 10, 2001, and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.