The Murder Of O'Neal Moore | The First Black Deputy Sheriff (1965)
O'Neal Moore (1931–1965) was the first black deputy sheriff for the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office in Varnado, Louisiana. He was a 34-year-old Army veteran, and he had a wife and four daughters.
Murdered in a drive-by shooting on Wednesday, June 2, 1965, exactly one year and one day after his appointment as deputy sheriff. That evening, he was driving home from work when an individual in a pickup truck shot at Moore and his partner, Creed Rogers, another Black deputy sheriff. Oneal lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a tree, dying instantly from a gunshot wound to the head. Rogers survived the shooting and the subsequent crash with injuries, and broadcast a description of the vehicle, which he noted had a Confederate flag decal on its front bumper.
Two suspects were arrested in Mississippi not long afterward. One was Ernest Ray McElveen, a known white supremacist. McElveen was represented by Baton Rouge attorney Osier Brown, who also represented the two men charged with Clarence Triggs' murder. The police filed no charges due to a lack of evidence and witnesses. The cold case was reopened by the FBI several times, first in 1990, then in 2001 and 2007, but they did not bring indictments. McElveen, the prime suspect in the case, died in 2003.
The Deacons for Defense and Justice, a group of organized black men in Louisiana and elsewhere in the South to protect civil rights workers through armed defense, provided protection and support for Moore's widow.