Fallen Ga Conservation Ranger Finally Honored After 42 Years

Fallen Ga Conservation Ranger Finally Honored After 42 Years

William Hobbs, a Georgia Conservation Ranger, was shot and killed in 1967. He is one of only two Georgia rangers to ever have died on duty.  He is shown here (at age 41) with his son Hal Hobbs (age 13). Photo was taken on 9-18-1956.
William Hobbs, a Georgia Conservation Ranger, was shot and killed in 1967. He is one of only two Georgia rangers to ever have died on duty. He is shown here (at age 41) with his son Hal Hobbs (age 13). Photo was taken on 9-18-1956.
Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Georgia Department of Natural Resources

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. — -(AmmoLand.com)- Only one Georgia Conservation Ranger has ever fallen in the line of duty, or so it often has been said by Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division personnel. That number now has been changed to two – and it took 42 years to dig into the details.  Ranger William Hobbs, of Blakely, was shot while on duty on July 9, 1967 while assisting the local Sheriff’s Office.  Thanks to efforts of current Department personnel, his name now appears on two memorials (one in Washington D.C. and one in Forsyth, GA at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center) dedicated to law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

“I know, even after such a long time, that the recognition of Ranger Hobbs’ service and dedication was important to his family,” says Chief of Law Enforcement Col. Terry West.  “I am grateful that we could be part of the effort to have his name forever etched in the memorials along with other fallen heroes.”

On the fateful day, Ranger William Hobbs was preparing for work when a woman, who rented a home on his property, asked him to come and intervene with a man (Aaron Bankston) who lived in her house.  Knowing the man and the situation, as apparently he had dealt with him several times before, Hobbs decided instead to allow the local Sheriff’s office to handle the situation.

Hobbs left after the Sheriff’s office was contacted.  He went into town to handle some of his reporting duties.  While in town, and at the Sheriff’s office, he was asked by one of the deputies to accompany him to the Bankston residence.

Upon arrival, Bankston was on the porch but retreated into the house. As the officers went up onto the porch, Bankston came to the door and shot them through the screen.  Hobbs was hit in the face and fell back into the yard.  The deputy, also hit, fled on foot.  Blinded by bird shot, Hobbs lay in the yard as Bankston came out and shot him several times with the officer’s own revolver.

The injured deputy made it back to the Sheriff’s office where he recruited several other officers to accompany him back to the house. Bankston was killed in a short standoff with the officers.  Hobbs was taken to the hospital, but died 10 days later from his injuries.

“It is thanks to Lt. Judd Smith, Sgt. Wade Law and Mr. Hal Hobbs – son of Ranger William Hobbs, that we were able to piece together this information and get the deserved recognition,” says West.  “I thank them for their dedication to see this honorary achievement finalized.”

The only other officer to have died while on duty was Cpl. Rocky Wainwright. He was killed in 1999 in an ATV accident while assisting in a search and rescue for a young girl.

For more information on officers who have died in the line of duty, visit the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund at www.nleomf.org .  They are worthy of our memory.

About:
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is comprised of six divisions which carryout DNR’s mission to sustain, enhance, protect and conserve Georgia’s natural, historic and cultural resources. As one of six divisions within DNR, the Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) is charged with conserving, enhancing and promoting Georgia’s wildlife resources, including game and nongame animals, fish and protected plants. WRD is comprised of four sections – Game Management, Fisheries Management, Law Enforcement and Nongame Conservation, which regulate hunting, fishing and boat operation, protect nongame and endangered wildlife, provide conservation education and enforce laws for the protection and use of Georgia’s natural resources.

  • One thought on “Fallen Ga Conservation Ranger Finally Honored After 42 Years

    1. Thank you for this article. Do you know where the memorial is in Washington DC? I'd like to look it up? Thanks…

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