Remembering the FoCo Sheriff’s Deputies murdered decades ago

Justine Lookenott
Deputies Bill Cantrell and Larry Mulkey were murdered during a traffic stop in 1972 in Forsyth County, GAPhoto byForsyth County Sheriff's Office

(Forsyth County, GA) While the nation expresses its gratitude to police officers each January 9 for National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) pays tribute to two of its deputies each year on January 10, marking the day they were murdered in the line of duty.

This year marks the 51st anniversary. To commemorate it, the FCSO shared the deputies’ tragic story on its Facebook page.

The tragedy

On the night of January 10, 1972, 36-year-old Chief Deputy Bill Cantrell and his ride-along, 19-year-old volunteer Special Deputy Larry Mulkey, made a traffic stop just south of Cumming on US 19 near what was once known as North Old Atlanta Road.

The vehicle they stopped had been seen leaving a country club the night before, where it was later discovered that there had been a burglary.

During the traffic stop, the four suspects in the vehicle disarmed the two deputies, handcuffed them and forced them into the trunk of the patrol car before fatally shooting them.

Before being disarmed, Mulkey had written down the license plate number of the suspect’s vehicle and hid the paper between the seats of the patrol car. That move was key in giving authorities a major clue in the case and led to the arrest and conviction of the suspects. It was later discovered the suspects had escaped from prison and made a pact that they would kill any law enforcement officer who tried to pull them over.
A map of where two Forsyth County deputies were murdered in 1972Photo byOfficer Down Memorial Page

Cantrell was survived by his wife and two children. Mulkey was survived by his parents.

They are the only Forsyth County officers to have been murdered while in the line of duty.

In their honor

The Officer Down Memorial Page gives a background of what happened to the two deputies and offers readers the opportunity to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice they made.

In 2016, North Old Atlanta Road near where the murders took place was renamed in honor of the two deputies, according to an article from the Forsyth County News. The stretch from Highway 9 to Ronald Reagan Boulevard was renamed “Deputy Bill Cantrell Memorial Road,” while the portion from Highway 9 to Hutchinson Road was renamed “Larry Mulkey Memorial Road.”

Three years later in 2019, the FCN also reported that Cumming Mayor Troy Brumbalow led an initiative to honor the fallen deputies by building a replica of the 1969 Chevrolet Impala patrol car they were driving. Some of the car’s original parts were used in the recreated vehicle. The car has been used in several city parades since then and is currently being stored until it is put on display at the Cumming City Center.
A replica of the 1969 Chevrolet Impala patrol car the two deputies were driving was made in their honorPhoto byCity of Cumming Police Department

For more information on fallen officers in Forsyth County, visit the Officer Down Memorial Page at

If you have a news tip in Forsyth County, contact Justine Lookenott at

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I cover local news in Forsyth County, GA. My debut into the writing world began at the age of 10 when I won an essay contest in Around Acworth Magazine in which I wrote about spending the summer with my pet goat, Eclair. Since graduating from Kennesaw State University, I have been published in several newspapers and magazines in the Atlanta area including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Atlanta School Guide, What Now Atlanta, Newcomer Magazine, the Marietta Daily Journal and the Cherokee Tribune.

Forsyth County, GA

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