The morning of Feb. 1, 1967, Deputy Benjamin Berry and his partner/cousin, Deputy Larry Eckert, were attempting to execute a felony warrant in North Central Austin. The suspect named in the warrant had locked himself in a rear bedroom of the home and refused to surrender.
The suspect fired in excess of 20 rounds from a M-1 .30 cal carbine at the two officers. Deputy Berry was shot through the heart and died at the scene. Deputy Eckert was seriously wounded in his lower leg but was able to return fire, striking the suspect in the hand, which ended the gun battle. Eckert, bleeding to death, was able to crawl to a nearby residence for help.
As a result of the shooting, Deputy Eckert injuries were so egregious that they ended his law enforcement career. Deputy Eckert’s wounds continued to cause extreme difficulty and he died from wound complications in 1975.
The suspect in this case was captured in a field off of Springdale Road after a massive search. The suspect stood trial and was sentenced to life in prison. Berry’s killer served only nine years in prison before being paroled.
Their wives and children survive both deputies.