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Revenge Is Apparent Motive in Killing of Retired Ky. Sheriff

A retired 82-year-old Monroe County (Kentucky) sheriff was gunned down in his driveway Wednesday afternoon by a suspect apparently seeking revenge for arrests made decades ago.

According to WAVE3, a television station based in Louisville, Herbert Proffitt was killed in a drive by shooting in his driveway in Tompkinsville, Ky. The alleged gunman was Charles Hammer, 81, a man whom the retired officer had arrested several in the past, according to the television station.

Evidence of the previous arrests was found on the scene, Tompkinsville City Attorney told television station KBKO, out of Bowling Green. The station reported investigators found old citations Proffitt issued to his alleged murderer at the scene of the shooting.

Proffitt’s more than 50 years as a public servant began in the U.S. Army and continued as the Monroe County Sheriff and later as a Tompkinsville police chief. He also worked as a court bailiff and retired in 2009.

Flags in Proffitt’s home town of Tompkinsville, where his son serves as mayor, were flying at half staff the day after the shooting.

Local Prospect Police Lt. Todd Shaw escorted Proffitt’s body home after it was embalmed in Louisville, according to WAVE3 television.

"What we're doing is paying a tribute,” Shaw told the station. “We're remembering how this officer lived; we don't want to look at how he died.”

Monroe County Sheriff Roger Barlow told WBKO that Proffitt, who was known as “Sprocket” was a good man who was fair to everyone.

In his role as a chief and sheriff he would often run into the same people and put them in jail, Barlow told the station.

"It is my understanding that during that tenure as sheriff that he arrested the defendant that is charged with Sprocket's murder for a domestic situation, and he wound up in the penitentiary as a result," Moore said.

The early 70's were the first time "Sprocket" arrested Charles Hammer, according to WKBO.

Fast-forward 30 years, in 2001, "Sprocket" arrested Hammer again for wanton endangerment and possession of a handgun.

After Wednesday shooting Hammer was charged with murder and is currently being held in Monroe County Jail.

According to news reports Proffitt's visitation and funeral have been postponed indefinitely due to a medical emergency involving his wife.