On Friday night, March 28, 1924, Nacogdoches County (TX) Deputy Sheriff Johnie Martin was shot and killed after he and Sheriff T. G. Vaught stopped a vehicle they suspected of transporting whiskey at 9 p.m. about nine miles west of Nacogdoches at Little Loco bridge.
The car was driven by bootleggers Bud Dixon with I. V. Nobles and L. G. Hanks as passengers. The officers waited on a bridge for the car to drive by and stopped it as it approached.
The Sheriff approached with a pistol in one hand and a flashlight in the other. Deputy Martin started to open a curtain to the see if there was whiskey in the car, when three shots were fired. Deputy Martin returned fire, killing Dixon and wounding Hanks.
The Sheriff was wounded in both legs and struck Nobles in the head as he tried to escape. The Sheriff called for Martin to stop Hanks from escaping, but Martin said, "I am shot through and through; I am killed."
Hanks, 26, who was captured and claimed he shot at the officers in self-defense, was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison but the case was reversed on appeal. On July 25, 1925, he was sentenced to 10 years. He was paroled on January 20, 1927.
Deputy Martin was survived by his wife and three children. He was buried in the Blackjack Cemetery in Nacogdoches County.
Deputy Martin was later awarded posthumous commendations from a US Department of the Treasury division that is now known as the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Deputy Martin's legacy of law enforcement has been passed down several generations that span from one side of Texas to the other and back.
As Deputy Martin's surviving family and part of his law enforcement legacy, we would like to make available a scholarship for the children of law enforcement officers in the United States (all branches of commissioned law enforcement - local, county, state, and federal) in his honor.
With your tax deductible donation, we would be honored to have you assist us with funding the Deputy Johnie W Martin Memorial Scholarship so that we may help the next generation obtain their goals for higher education.