Thursday, May 19, 2016

Artifact Spotlight

Gun Belt and Holster Donated by Granddaughter of Fallen Officer


Jenny Cooper, granddaughter of James S. Mullins
Jenny Cooper, granddaughter of James S. Mullins,
holding his gun belt and holster.
Last month the National Law Enforcement Museum received a fascinating artifact from a law enforcement survivor whose grandfather was added to the Memorial wall in 2015. Jenny Cooper donated the belt and holster worn by her grandfather, Virginia State Prohibition Inspector James S. Mullins, when he was killed in the line of duty in Clintwood, Virginia.

On August 6, 1926, Inspector Mullins stood outside the Dickenson County, VA, courthouse discussing a warrant with colleagues E.J. Sutherland, the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Dickenson County, and Miles Sykes, the Justice of the Peace. According to official eyewitness testimony of both of these men, Inspector Mullins was approached and shot three times by Dickenson County Sheriff, Pridemore Fleming.
Prohibition Inspector James S. Mullins c. 1926
Prohibition Inspector James S. Mullins c. 1926
Mullins fumbled for his gun with his left hand (he had previously lost his right hand), and returned fire killing Fleming.  Mullins died of his own injuries two days later. Sheriff Fleming was known for violating prohibition laws, and he and Mullins had a history of not getting along. According to Sutherland’s testimony, Fleming seemed to be under the influence of alcohol during the shootout.

Ms. Cooper believes that the hole visible in Inspector Mullins’s holster is from one of the bullets that ultimately killed him.