Incident DetailsCause of Death:
Sheriff Avis Dutcher was shot and killed while attempting to take a man into custody in downtown Williamsport.
He met with the subject who was on parole and had an outstanding warrant for reckless driving. While the two were conversing, the Williamsport town marshal appeared and was asked by the sheriff to search the suspect for any weapons but none were found.
As the three walked to a nearby law office, the suspect began protesting and pointed the barrel of an undiscovered .32-caliber French automatic revolver through his trousers at the officers demanding that they go to the lawyer's residence to resolve the fine.
They walked a short distance to his vehicle and after all three got into the front seat, Sheriff Dutcher grabbed the suspect and a struggle ensued. The man freed himself, fell out of the car and to the ground after being struck on the wrist by the marshal's club.
Several shots were then fired by the suspect into his vehicle and struck Sheriff Dutcher in the arm and abdomen that penetrated his heart, causing his death moments later.
As the suspect fled the scene on foot, two shots were fired by the marshal with one striking the suspect who continued to flee. A large manhunt by police and citizens covering nearby counties and into Illinois could not locate the suspect.
On September 23, the man's body was located by a citizen behind a freight depot with a second gunshot wound that was determined to be self-inflicted.
Sheriff Dutcher was nearing the end of his second two-year term. He was survived by his wife, three daughters, two sons, parents, three sisters and three brothers.