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Aug 29, 2012 6:39 PM by Josh Breslow

Community Mourns Former Monroe County Sheriff Murdered Outside Home

The mood around Monroe County on Wednesday was a solemn one. Flags flew at half staff in honor of the man many knew simply as ‘Sprocket'.

Herbert Proffitt was gunned down outside his home on Rush Lane in Tompkinsville on Tuesday afternoon, the victim of what police call a drive-by shooting.

"He's a good friend to everybody," said Reed Moore, the Tompkinsville city attorney and a friend of Proffitt. "He was a really compassionate man. If he had to arrest you, he treated you with dignity and respect."

'Sprocket' served in the U.S. Army, then as the Monroe County Sheriff, the Tompkinsville Police Chief, and a court baliff, before retiring in 2009.

The community was shocked to learn the 82-year-old had been shot and killed in his own driveway.

"We haven't gotten a great deal accomplished around here today," said Moore. "Everybody's talking to one another and telling Sprocket stories and can't believe it. It's just a terrible situation."

It's a killing that many close to the victim describe as revenge. ‘Sprocket' arrested his accused killer, Charles Hammer several times in the past, including in the 1980s, when Hammer was eventually locked away in the Kentucky State Penitentiary.

"They deal with a segment of society, some of which are pretty bad. Sometimes you make those bad people, pretty mad," said Moore.

Moore told LEX 18 that Proffitt had been shot while on duty, once before.

"Scared everybody to death, including ‘Sprocket'. But that was his job and he didn't quit," Moore said.

Funeral arrangements for Proffitt are pending.

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