Each year the Burlington Police Department honors its only officer killed in the line of duty. They do so to fulfill the promise that we will never forget an officer's service and sacrifice. This is why even though Patrolman Sonnie W. Vaughn was killed in 1938, we still honor his sacrifice. In 2017, a plaque was placed at the scene of the incident at 213 N. Church Street. We will continue to remember and honor Patrolman Vaughn's ultimate sacrifice.
Patrolman Sonnie Vaughn and Sheriff Mercellus Robertson, of the Alamance County Sheriff's Department, were shot and killed by two escaped convicts while responding to a burglary-in-progress at a service station at the corner of North Church Street and Trade Street. Both were met with gunshots from the darkness as they entered the station. A third officer returned fire through a window killing one of the convicts as they tried to escape through a back door. The other convict escaped. Both convicts had escaped from an Anson County Prison Camp on October 22, 1938. Patrolman Vaughn was survived by his wife, two sons, and three daughters.