Bobby G. Padgett was born on June 28, 1931, in Roanoke, Virginia. The son of Curtis and Ollie Padgett, he grew up in a large family, with two sisters and five brothers. He served in the Navy from 1948 to 1952, and then returned to Roanoke and worked in a factory. His brother, Russell, was a Roanoke police officer but Bob Padgett was attracted to Alexandria. On February 20, 1957, he became an Alexandria police officer.
Described as "quiet" and "mature," Private Padgett was well-liked by fellow patrol officers on Squad Three. He and his young family lived in Chinquapin Village where other new officers and military families made their homes.
Just past midnight on February 4, 1959, police were called to a home in the 100 block of South West Street. A man reported someone had entered his home and struck him with a rod. At 12:25 a.m., Private Padgett arrived on the scene and encountered the suspect, Harry Eugene Fuller, arguing with his estranged wife outside. As he tried to arrest him, Private Joseph Serafin arrived. There was a scuffle and both officers managed to get one of Fuller’s arms handcuffed. But Fuller, 29, broke free and knocked Private Padgett’s gun away.
Fuller grabbed the gun and shot Private Padgett twice. As the officer laid on the ground, Fuller struck him on the head with the pistol. Fuller and Private Serafin exchanged shots, each injuring the other. As Lieutenant Warren Zimmerman arrived, he observed Fuller attempting to flee. He chased him and arrested him three blocks away.
Private Padgett suffered a fractured skull and two gunshot wounds. He died when a bullet struck an artery. Private Serafin recovered, as did the suspect. Fuller was executed on June 30, 1960, for Private Padgett’s murder.
Private Padgett, 27, was survived by his wife Lucianne, daughter Faye, sons Allen and Neal, his mother and seven siblings. He is buried at Sherwood Memorial Park in Salem, Va.