Patrolman Russell was shot and killed while questioning two suspicious men in an alley behind a local business. During the questioning one of the men produced a handgun and shot him several times. Patrolman Russell was found with a draft card belonging to one of the suspects in his hand.
The suspect who killed Patrolman Russell had escaped from the Greenville, Tennessee Jail on April 8, 1970. He was being held for four counts of bank robbery, three in Tennessee and one in Bristol, Virgina. He and another Tennessee man fled to the Pacific Northwest where on May 29, 1970, they shot and killed a bartender at a tavern in Portland, Oregon. They were next heard from when they killed Patrolman Russell. On July 9, 1970, they robbed a post office in Malott, Washington. A week later they killed a 70 year old man in Okanogan, Washington by strangulating him, and then stole his car. Both suspects were captured a few weeks later.
The killer of Patrolman Russell was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison on June 16, 1971. The other suspect was allowed to plead guilty to attempted burglary and was sentenced to 7 years in prison. Both suspects were bound over to Oregon officials to be tried for murder in that state.