Murder of Kyle Dinkheller

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Murder of Kyle Dinkheller
Dashcam footage from Dinkheller's cruiser moments before the shootout
DateJanuary 12, 1998 (1998-01-12)
LocationWhipple Crossing Road
Laurens County, Georgia, U.S.
Coordinates32°31′03″N 83°04′42″W / 32.517443°N 83.078321°W / 32.517443; -83.078321Coordinates: 32°31′03″N 83°04′42″W / 32.517443°N 83.078321°W / 32.517443; -83.078321
ParticipantsKyle W. Dinkheller, Andrew H. Brannan
OutcomeAndrew H. Brannan injured, Kyle W. Dinkheller dead
SuspectsAndrew H. Brannan

The murder of Kyle Dinkheller took place on Monday, January 12, 1998, when Dinkheller, a deputy in the Laurens County, Georgia, sheriff's office, pulled over motorist and Vietnam War veteran Andrew Howard Brannan for speeding. A verbal confrontation escalated to a shootout resulting in Brannan murdering Dinkheller. The murder continues to receive national attention because the traffic stop and shootout were captured on a personal video recorder Dinkheller had placed on his patrol car dashboard and activated when he stopped Brannan. The recording is widely used for training purposes in U.S. police academies.

In the shootout, Dinkheller was armed with his semi-automatic pistol while Brannan was armed with an Iver Johnson M1 Carbine. Dinkheller shot and wounded Brannan. Despite this, Brannan fired the rifle, reloaded it, fired a lethal shot into Dinkheller's eye, and fled the scene in his Toyota pickup truck. The next morning, police found Brannan still in Laurens County, hiding in a sleeping bag beneath a camouflage tarp. Police arrested him for the murder of Dinkheller.

Brannan pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, claiming in part that he suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) stemming from his military service in Vietnam. Because Dinkheller's video recorded most of Brannan's actions, the jury found he murdered the deputy in a premeditated, torturous, and cruel manner. Two years following the murder, on January 28, 2000, the jury convicted Brannan. On January 30, he was sentenced to death. Seventeen years and one day after the murder, on January 13, 2015, Brannan was executed by lethal injection.[1]

Confrontation and shootout[edit]

On January 12, 1998, near the end of his shift, Deputy Kyle Wayne Dinkheller of the Laurens County, Georgia, sheriff's office, encountered a speeding Toyota pickup truck near Dudley, Georgia, United States, which he checked at around 98 miles per hour (158 km/h). The deputy pulled the truck over on Whipple Crossing Road, adjacent to Interstate 16. The traffic stop at first appeared to be routine, with both Dinkheller and the driver, Andrew Brannan, exiting their vehicles and exchanging greetings. Brannan, however, placed both hands into his pockets, at which point Dinkheller instructed him to remove his hands and keep them in plain view.

At this point, Brannan became belligerent and yelled at the deputy to shoot him. He then began to dance and wave his arms in the middle of the road. Dinkheller radioed the dispatcher for assistance and issued commands for Brannan to cease his behavior and approach the cruiser. When Brannan saw that Dinkheller was calling for other units, he ran toward the deputy in an aggressive manner. Dinkheller retreated while issuing commands and utilized his baton to keep Brannan at bay. On Dinkheller's dashcam video, Brannan was heard shouting that he was a "goddamned Vietnam combat veteran."

Despite commands issued by Dinkheller, Brannan walked back to his pickup truck and drew an Iver Johnson M1 Carbine from underneath the driver's seat, taking cover near the driver side door. Dinkheller positioned himself near the passenger door of his cruiser and gave Brannan commands for approximately forty seconds before Brannan stepped away from his pickup truck, pointed his rifle at Dinkheller and fired several shots. Dinkheller fired the first shot at Brannan but missed, leading some to speculate that it might have been a warning shot.[2] Dinkheller did not strike the suspect initially and thus was forced to reload.

At this point, Brannan ran from his truck toward Dinkheller and began to fire again, hitting the deputy in exposed areas such as the arms and legs. Brannan then began to reload his weapon as the now-injured Dinkheller tried to position himself near the driver side door of his cruiser. Brannan appeared to go back to his car to retreat before another shot from Dinkheller was heard. This enraged Brannan, who began advancing and firing at the deputy, hitting him numerous times. Before being disabled from gunfire, Dinkheller was able to inflict a gunshot wound to Brannan's stomach. Dinkheller had been shot nine times when Brannan took careful aim, said, "Die, fucker," and fired a final fatal shot into Dinkheller's right eye.[3] Brannan then retreated into his truck and fled the scene.[4]


Brannan was arrested the next morning without incident; he told the investigating authorities that "they can hang me".[5] He was found guilty on January 28, 2000, for the murder of Dinkheller and was sentenced to death.[6] On January 2, 2015, the Georgia Department of Corrections announced that an execution date of January 13 had been set for Brannan.[7][8] On January 6, a clemency hearing was set for January 12, at which the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles voted to deny clemency. On January 13, Brannan was executed by lethal injection, the first person in the U.S. to be executed in 2015.[9]


Andrew Howard Brannan
Andrew Howard Brannan (1970) (cropped).png
Brannan in 1970, serving as a United States Army artillery officer during the Vietnam War.
BornNovember 26, 1948
United States
DiedJanuary 13, 2015(2015-01-13) (aged 66)
Cause of deathExecution by lethal injection
Criminal statusExecuted
Conviction(s)Malice murder
Criminal penaltyDeath
Military career
Allegiance United States[10]
Service/branch United States Army[10]
Years of service1968–1975[N 1][10][11][12][13]
RankUS Army O2 shoulderboard rotated.svg First lieutenant[10]
Battles/warsVietnam War[10][12]

Early life and education[edit]

Andrew Howard Brannan was born on November 26, 1948, and graduated from high school in 1967.


In August 1968, Brannan joined the United States Army and received his induction training at Fort Benning in Georgia. In February 1969, he entered the artillery officer candidate school at Oklahoma's Fort Sill and was commissioned as an artillery officer in July 1969.[13] While he was still in the U.S., Brannan served with the 82nd Airborne Division. In July 1969, he was ordered to service in the Vietnam War, where he served in the Field Artillery Branch as a forward observer and executive officer with the 23rd Infantry Division at Chu Lai, South Vietnam, until July 1971.[13]

During his service, Brannan witnessed an officer being killed after stepping on a landmine, an incident he later recalled during a psychiatric interview in 1989.[13] He also assumed command of a company on two occasions, after its commander was killed.[13] Afterwards, Brannan arrived at Washington state's Fort Lewis, where he transferred to the United States Army Reserve, in which he served, periodically, for two weeks at a time until being discharged in June 1975.[13]

During his time in the Army, Brannan was awarded the Bronze Star and two instances of the Army Commendation Medal.[13] While in the military, his superiors spoke favorably of him, saying that he was an "outstanding" and "exemplary" officer.[13]

Later life and death[edit]

Brannan's defense was that he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as the result of serving in battle.[13] In 1975, he was married, although the couple divorced six years later as a result of Brannan's violent behavior stemming from his PTSD.[13] A psychologist for the defense indicated that the bizarre encounter with Dinkheller in January 1998 "was likely the result of a flashback to Brannan's time in combat." In 1994, the Department of Veterans Affairs had declared Brannan 100% disabled for experiencing depression and bipolar disorder.[10]

Although Brannan's lawyers tried to get his death sentence commuted on the grounds that he was not criminally responsible for his conviction by reason of insanity, both the Georgia Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court refused to intervene on his behalf on the day his execution was scheduled to take place.[11] Brannan was executed by lethal injection at 8:33 p.m. (EST) on January 13, 2015, the first person executed in the U.S. in 2015. He was 66 years old at the time of his death at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison near Jackson, Georgia.[14]

Brannan made a final statement, in which he said, "I extend my condolences to the Dinkheller family, especially Kyle's parents and his wife and his two children" and, "I feel like my status was slow torture for the last fifteen years. I had to say that with them here. I have to tell the truth. I'm certainly glad to be leaving."[11] A pastor then delivered a prayer and Brannan was executed.[11] He was executed one day after the 17-year anniversary of the shooting.


Kyle Wayne Dinkheller
Born(1975-06-18)June 18, 1975
DiedJanuary 12, 1998(1998-01-12) (aged 22)
Whipple Crossing Road, Laurens County, Georgia, U.S.
Resting placeFountainhead Memorial Park, Brevard County, Florida, U.S.
Other names"Dink"[2]
Police career
DepartmentLaurens County Sheriff's Office[15]
Service yearsMarch 1995 – January 1998[15]
RankBasic patrol officer[15]
Badge no.37
Awards1998 Deputy Sheriff of the Year, Georgia Sheriffs' Association (posthumously)[16]
Cause of deathGunshot wound

Kyle Wayne Dinkheller was a deputy with the Laurens County Sheriff's Office (LCSO) in the U.S. state of Georgia. After his death, he was named the 1998 Deputy Sheriff of the Year by the Georgia Sheriffs' Association.[16]

Dinkheller was born on June 18, 1975, in San Diego, California to Kirk Dinkheller.[2] He graduated from California's Quartz Hill High School in 1993. He joined the LCSO as a jailer in March 1995 and became a certified police officer with the State of Georgia in 1996.[15] He was 22 years old when he was murdered.

Dinkheller and his wife, Angela, had children Ashley and Cody, the latter of whom was born eight months after his father's death; Ashley was twenty-two months old. Dinkheller is buried in the Garden of Remembrance at Fountainhead Memorial Park in Brevard County, Florida.[17]

The "Dinkheller video"[edit]

The video recording of the murder, known as the "Dinkheller video", has become ubiquitous in U.S. police academies.[18]

The video has, for instance, been adapted to include an interactive sequence in which trainees encounter Brannan before he kills Dinkheller.[18] Police trainers use this setup to test officers' willingness to use deadly force, and to impart to them that "there could be a time... when pulling the trigger is the only way".[19]

In popular culture[edit]

  • The incident is the focus of the 2014 short film, Random Stop.[20][21]
  • On January 12, 2018, to mark the 20th anniversary of Dinkheller's death, film maker Patrick Shaver released his documentary film, Dinkheller, which tells "the story of those who held Dinkheller close to their hearts". The documentary premiered at Theatre Dublin in Dublin, Georgia.[22]
  • The audio recording of Dinkheller's murder was sampled on "I Just Killed A Cop Now I'm Horny" by JPEGMAFIA on his 2016 album Black Ben Carson.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ August 1, 1968, to June 7, 1971, in the Regular Army. June 7, 1971, to June 4, 1975, in the United States Army Reserve.


  1. ^ "Deputy Kyle Wayne Dinkheller". ODMP Remembers. Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc. 2014. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "The Trigger And The Choice: Part 1".
  3. ^ "Supreme Court of Georgia, HALL v. BRANNAN". FindLaw. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
  4. ^ Only4Ganja (March 11, 2010). Police Vs Vietnam Veteran [Police Shootout 1998 footage]. Self-published via YouTube. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
  5. ^ Kovac, Joe, Jr. (January 13, 2015). "'They can hang me,' Laurens cop killer once said". The Telegraph. Macon, Georgia: The Telegraph. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
  6. ^ "Dinkheller Case Before Supreme Court". Dublin Courier Herald. Dublin, Georgia. 2008. Archived from the original on May 9, 2014. Retrieved May 9, 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  7. ^ "Georgia Department of Corrections". Georgia Department of Corrections. Retrieved July 14, 2012.
  8. ^ "Andrew H. Brannan v. GDCP Warden" (PDF). United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Atlanta, Georgia: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. August 8, 2013. Archived from the original on May 9, 2014. Retrieved May 9, 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  9. ^ Berman, Dave (March 11, 2012). "After the grief, police learn from tragedies". Florida Today. Gannett.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Lamothe, Dan (January 13, 2015). "Vietnam veteran Andrew Brannan executed for murder after PTSD defense fails". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  11. ^ a b c d e Pramati, Phillip (January 13, 2015). "Brannan put to death for killing Laurens County deputy". The Telegraph. Macon, Georgia: The Telegraph. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  12. ^ a b c d Brumack, Kate (January 13, 2015). "Andrew Brannan Executed For Killing of Sheriff's Deputy in Georgia". Huffington Post. Associated Press. Archived from the original on January 14, 2015. Retrieved January 14, 2015.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Kammer, Brian S.; Loveland, L. Joseph (April 7, 2014). "Andrew Howard Brannan v. Carl Humphrey" (PDF). On Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Atlanta, Georgia: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Archived from the original on January 20, 2015. Retrieved January 20, 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  14. ^ Sakuma, Amanda (January 14, 2015). "Vietnam vet with PTSD Andrew Brannan first man executed in 2015". MSNBC. NBC Universal. MSNBC News. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
  15. ^ a b c d e State of Georgia (April 20, 1998). "HR 807". House of Representatives of the State of Georgia. State of Georgia: Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Georgia. Archived from the original on February 18, 2015. Retrieved February 17, 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  16. ^ a b "Sheriff returns from training conference". Walker County Messenger. September 11, 1998. p. 2.
  17. ^ "Digital Memorial". Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  18. ^ a b Beauchamp, Zack (July 7, 2020). "What the police really believe". Vox. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
  19. ^ Lake, Thomas (August 2017). "The Trigger And The Choice: Part 1". CNN. Retrieved July 7, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. ^ "This Reenactment of a Violent Shootout Feels Like a Game—and That's the Point". Motherboard. Vice Media, LLC. July 3, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  21. ^ "Random Stop on Vimeo". March 25, 2014. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  22. ^ "'Dinkheller' documentary premieres in Dublin this weekend". 13wmaz. January 11, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2018.

External links[edit]