Killing of William Gordon and James Johnson in Tennessee in 1946


Case summary

James Johnson (1912 - 1946), a restaurant operator, was shot to death by police officers in the county jail in Maury County, Tennessee. Johnson was detained in connection with the well-known assault on the Black community in Columbia in February 1946. The police claimed Johnson and another person named William Gordon seized a gun and shot an officer. According to police, the officers then shot Johnson and Gordon. William Gordon (1907-1946), a farmer, was killed by state troopers in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee. Gordon was one of around 100 prisoners being held for participating in “racial disorders.” Gordon, and also James Johnson and Napoleon Stewart, were being transported under heavy guard, and one of them allegedly got hold of a rifle and shot deputy sheriff R.T. Darnell in the arm. Other officers fired, killing Gordon and Johnson and wounding Stewart.


Alleged perpetrators/other named individuals:
Perpetrator group type: police

Date of incident: 1946-02-28
Location: Columbia, Maury County, Tennessee
Location type: carceral location
Allegation against victim: [ ]

Coroner process
Coroner/inquest: [ ]
Finding of no legal responsibility: [ ]

Criminal process
Arrest: [ ]
Charge/indictment/information: [ ]
Grand jury: yes
Trial: [ ]
Conviction: [ ]
Sentence: [ ]

FBI case ID:

Chicago 44-55

Memphis 44-58

New York 44-89

Memphis 44-78

DOJ case ID:


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