Police Officer John Wesley Sykes, Jr.

End of Watch Friday, December 31, 1982

memphis police association fallen officers_0008_John Wesley Sykes Jr

Police Officer John Wesley Sykes, Jr.

Officer John Sykes was shot and killed while pursuing a vehicle. 

At approximately 1911 hours, Officer Sykes and his FTO observed a vehicle driving erratically. Unknown to the officers, the two occupants had just committed an armed robbery in a Post Office parking lot. The officers attempted to stop the vehicle and a pursuit began. During the pursuit, Officer Sykes and his FTO lost sight of the car. As they searched the area, they noticed the car had pulled into a side street to hide.

The officers quickly turned around to apprehend the suspects. The suspect vehicle sped out from its hiding place. As the suspect vehicle passed the patrol car, one of the suspects opened fire. Officer Sykes was struck in the neck. He was rushed to Methodist Hospital where he died about two hours later. Both suspects were apprehended two days later.

Both suspects were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Officer Sykes had graduated from the Police Academy only 13 days prior to this incident.


  • Age: Not available
  • Tour: 1 week
  • Badge: 886

Incident Details

  • Cause: Gunfire
  • Weapon: Handgun; .357 caliber
  • Offender: Sentenced to life