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Hero Down: Hardin County Deputy Matthew Locke Murdered By Gunman

Clifton, TN – Hardin County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Deputy Matthew Locke died in the line of duty on Saturday night after a gunman opened fire as he was assisting another deputy on a domestic disturbance call.

The incident occurred in the 3000-block of Nance Bend Road just after 8:30 p.m., WTVF reported.

HCSO deputies responded to the home where the domestic disturbance took place and made contact with 48-year-old Todd Alan Stricklin, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).

Deputies said Stricklin was armed with a handgun.

They said they ordered him to drop the weapon, but he refused to comply, WTVF reported.

As Deputy Locke, 30, arrived at the scene to assist, Stricklin opened fire, police said.

The suspect took off on foot into the woods after shooting the deputy.

Stricklin was located by Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) troopers several hours later.

Deputy Locke was rushed to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds.

Stricklin has since been charged with first-degree murder, WTVF reported.

“Upon learning the details of the shooting, I have activated the death penalty team who will be reviewing the evidence and charges to determine if this shooting of a law enforcement officer meets the standard for a capital murder crime,” Hardin County District Attorney Matthew Stowe told WSMV.

Stowe said his district “will not allow murder to go unpunished,” regardless of what is going on in other areas of the nation.

“While other parts of the country struggle with unlawfulness and activists who encourage violence against police, the people of our West Tennessee district stand firm in support for our officers and the rule of law,” he told WSMV.

“Last night, Hardin County Sheriff Deputy Matthew Locke was assisting another deputy regarding a domestic disturbance call when he was senselessly fired upon,” Hardin County Sheriff Johnny Alexander confirmed in a press release on Sunday. “Deputy Locke ultimately succumbed to the injuries he tragically sustained while serving and protecting his community with honor and distinction.”

Deputy Locke was also a member of the Tennessee National Guard, Sheriff Alexander noted.

“We remember Deputy Locke for his selfless dedication, absolute courage and unparalleled commitment,” the sheriff wrote. “Our country has lost a warrior. Our community has lost a hero. Our department has lost a brother. We will never forget Deputy Locke, and we are all forever in debt for his sacrifice.”

Sheriff Alexander asked for the community to keep Deputy Locke’s friends and family members in their thoughts and prayers in the coming days.

“On behalf of myself and everyone with the Hardin County Sheriff’s Department, we express our deepest condolences to members of Deputy Locke’s family, his friends and loved ones,” he said. “I also want to express my support, care and concern for all members of the Hardin County Sheriff’s Department, the City of Savannah Police Department and our surrounding colleagues from other departments, as you are unfairly forced to mourn this tragic loss.”

Hardin County Mayor Kevin Davis released a statement calling Deputy Locke a “soldier who served his community and his country with honor, courage, commitment, dedication and devotion.”

“Deputy Locke was known to be a fearless warrior with a servant’s heart,” Davis wrote. “Our community has lost a hero, and a family will never be the same, all because of this senseless tragedy.”

Deputy Locke leaves behind his wife and young child, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Hardin County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Matthew Locke, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Deputy Matthew Locke, your life mattered.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


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