By Hank Wiesner/Southern Sentinel
RIPLEY – A memorial to two Tippah County law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty more than 60 years apart was dedicated Saturday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m. at the Tippah County Sheriff’s Department.
Two wreaths were placed on the gray granite memorial outside the Sheriff’s Department in memory of Tippah deputy DeWayne Crenshaw and Constable Ola Crum, who were both shot to death. A representative from each family placed the wreaths.
Mrs. Crenshaw presented a painting representing the nation’s fallen law enforcement officers, given in memory of her husband. The painting will hang in the Sheriff’s Department.
After the program, she said the ceremony was “emotional, but well deserved. I’m proud so many people came out, and I pray this never happens again.”
Crenshaw, 62, was slain before dawn Friday, Dec. 3, 2010 at a residence on County Road 500 northeast of Ripley. Crum, 50, was killed Saturday, July 5, 1947 about a residence about three miles east of Blue Mountain. Both men were killed while responding to pre-dawn disturbance calls.
Earlier this year, Franklin Fitzpatrick, 26, of Pontotoc, was indicted for capital murder in Crenshaw’s death.
Fitzpatrick was arrested following the predawn shooting. He is being held at the state penitentiary at Parchman.
The man who shot Crum later served time for the crime.
Crum’s grandson Ola Thomas was present for the ceremony. There was an invocation from Bro. Tim Wilbanks, and RMS 8th grader Grace Ann Elliott sang the National Anthem and Amazing Grace.
Sheriff Karl Gaillard reminded the audience that Crenshaw had served the county, state and nation for many years in the US. Army as well as the Tippah County Sheriff’s Department.
An honor guard unit from the Ripley National Guard unit helped recognize the two fallen officers. A Mississippi Highway Patrol honor guard slated to be at the ceremony was unable to attend, due to having to be at funeral services for former Gov. Bill Waller.
Sens. Eric Powell and Bill Stone, who represent this area, offered remarks, both indicating that Crenshaw loved serving people and paid the ultimate price while doing so. The two senators co-sponsored the DeWayne Crenshaw Act, which outlaws chemicals used in bath salts, which can be used to get high. Fitzpatrick was believed to have been high on the salts when he shot the deputy.
Bert Conely played Taps on a bugle. There was a reception afterward in the Justice Court courtroom hosted by the Blue Mountain chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Pictured above from left during the ceremony are Tippah deputy Rodney Callahan, Crenshaw’s daughter Tami Flynn, Jane Crenshaw, and Crenshaw’s son Adam Crenshaw