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Berchman L. White
South Norfolk Police Department
Killed in the Line of Duty – August 4, 1941
|Medal of Honor||South Norfolk Police Badge|
Berchman L. White was appointed to the South Norfolk Police Department in February, 1940 at the age of 34. Officer White was assigned to South Norfolk as a Uniformed Patrol Officer for the eighteen months following his appointment.
Officer White was originally a resident of Goldsboro, North Carolina. He moved to Virginia and became a resident of South Norfolk. Officer White resided at 1324 Decatur Street with his wife, Beatrice Holloman White, and two daughters, Joan, age 7 and Kay, age 5.
Officer White had many varied and interesting positions prior to becoming a South Norfolk police officer including being a fire fighter with the South Norfolk Fire Department.
On August 4, 1941, Officer White and Sergeant E. S. Overman were dispatched to transport a 37 year old male prisoner to the Norfolk County Jail.
The prisoner was sentenced by the South Norfolk Trial Justice Court to six months in jail for drunkenness and escape from custody. According to witnesses, the prisoner was quiet from the courthouse in South Norfolk to the Norfolk County Jail parking lot.
As the vehicle approached the jail, the prisoner became very disorderly. The prisoner, riding in the rear of the vehicle, reached over the front seat and grabbed Sergeant Overman's service revolver from his holster.
The prisoner then turned the weapon on Officer White and fired it. The bullet struck Officer White near the right eye.
Sergeant Overman grabbed the weapon and began to wrestle with the prisoner to regain control of the situation. His attempt to regain the weapon failed.
The prisoner was able to maintain control of the weapon and turned it on himself, firing a bullet into his own head.
Officer White was pronounced dead in a Portsmouth hospital approximately one hour after the shooting. The prisoner died August 9, in the King's Daughter's Hospital.
Officer Berchman L. White was killed in the line of duty on August 4, 1941, while in the performance of his fundamental duties of serving mankind, safeguarding lives and property.