PANOLA COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - The Panola County Sheriff’s Office is mourning the loss of one of their own. Deputy Chris Dickerson was killed in the line of duty by a suspect’s gunfire when he attempted a traffic stop on FM 10 early Tuesday morning. The suspect was apprehended later on Tuesday in Shreveport. He will be extradited back to Texas to face charges in the fatal shooting.
Dep. Dickerson was called “as dedicated as they come” by Sheriff Kevin Lake Tuesday during a press conference, when he confirmed Dickerson was the deputy who had been killed. Lake said that Dickerson gave his life doing “what he was put on this earth to do.”
Dickerson had, in fact, been recognized previously as a dedicated public servant during his time with the sheriff’s office. He, along with two of his fellow deputies, had been honored for their bravery after they rescued a woman from a burning home two years ago.
The incident occurred on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017 at about 1:30 a.m. in the Fairplay community. Deputies Travis Curry, Chris Dickerson, and Callahan Malone responded to the fire, where they saw flames shooting through the roof of the home. They ran toward the burning house, and were told by a homeowner that a woman was trapped in a bedroom inside the house.
As seen in the attached bodycam video, deputies Dickerson and Curry entered the bedroom without the benefit of protective fire gear. They climbed through a broken window and found the woman lying unconscious on the floor of the smoke-filled bedroom. They were able to pass the woman through the broken window out to Deputy Malone to safety.
The deputies were also able to save an unconscious family dog that was in the bedroom, according to our sister station, KSLA. Curry received treatment for a cut on his leg from the broken window. Two people from inside the home were taken to area hospitals for treatment.
In March 2018, the three deputies were honored with the Regional First Responder Award at the East Texas Council of Governments’ annual regional awards ceremony because of their actions. ETCOG Executive Director David Cleveland said to the Panola Watchman at the time that the three deputies “risked their own life and limb to save the woman and the dog,” and noted that “without them, she would have perished.”
Arrangements for Deputy Chris Dickerson have not yet been announced. He is survived by a wife and two young daughters.