- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 7, 2005

The only known Fairfax County sheriff’s deputy killed in the line of duty was honored for the first time yesterday, 100 years after he was fatally shot by a man who was harassing young girls.

Sheriff’s Deputy George A. Malcolm died of gunshot wounds on April 7, 1905, a day after he was shot trying to arrest an Italian immigrant who had been harassing young girls at the Lorton Valley School. Deputy Malcolm was 24 and had been a sworn deputy sheriff for 11 months.

The story about Deputy Malcolm and his death did not surface until this past year when Chris Cosgriff, a researcher, accidentally found out about him from old newspaper accounts. At the time, Mr. Cosgriff, chairman of the Officer Down Memorial Page Inc. which researches the lives of fallen officers, was searching for background on another officer.

“He would have been the youngest inspiring pillar in the community,” said Chris Heflin, a Fairfax County deputy sheriff and president of Fairfax Deputy Sheriff’s Coalition. “Really, this was unknown until this past year.”

On the 100th anniversary of his death yesterday, county and police officials and about a dozen of Deputy Malcolm’s descendants held a memorial service at his grave site at the historic Pohick Church Cemetery in Lorton to officially recognize that the deputy was killed on the job.

Among those who attended the service were Delegate Vivian E. Watts, Fairfax County Democrat; Delegate Kristen J. Amundson, Fairfax County Democrat; and Supervisor Gerald W. Hyland, Mount Vernon District Democrat.

About 16 members of Malcolm’s family are buried with him at the Pohick Church Cemetery, but none of the great-nieces had ever heard of how Deputy Malcolm died. All that remains is a rectangular stone in the ground that reads, “George A. Malcolm 1880-1905.”

“It was always very hush-hush,” said Anita Malcolm Smith of Chesapeake, Va. “It was almost like it was a dark secret.”

Ann Malcolm, a great-niece who lives in the District, echoed Miss Smith’s sentiment. “We knew he had died young, but it wasn’t discussed.”

Deputy Malcolm, who served as deputy treasurer of the Mount Vernon and Lee districts, was the school’s head instructor at the Lorton Valley School and had seen the man verbally harass some students, Mr. Cosgriff said.

The deputy swore out a warrant against the man and, on April 6, 1905, went with two other men to arrest the suspect near Lorton. During the arrest, the man pulled out a pistol and shot Deputy Malcolm five times, hitting him in the abdomen, hip and hand, Mr. Cosgriff said.

Deputy Malcolm was taken to what was known as Emergency Hospital in the District. The next day, a group of locals went to the Lorton railroad station where the suspect worked.

As they tried to arrest him, he resisted and was shot in the head. Mr. Cosgriff said it might have been a suicide attempt.

The suspect also was taken to Emergency Hospital. Both Deputy Malcolm and the suspect, who were put in the same room, died several hours later, Mr. Cosgriff said.

Later, the Italian ambassador appealed to the governor of Virginia that the immigrant was unfairly accosted, Mr. Cosgriff said.

Deputy Malcolm was not married, and the closest surviving relatives were his brother and mother.

“It’s still a mystery why [Deputy Malcolm] would not have been recognized,” Deputy Heflin said.

Deputy Malcolm also will be honored May 13 during National Police Week when his name will be inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in the District.

Several county sheriff’s deputies are adopting the Malcolm Tartan, a plaid design passed down from Deputy Malcolm’s Scottish roots, as the uniform for their new bag pipe band and drum corps.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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