Sergeant Arledge and Patrolman Lawrence Canipe were shot and killed in the basement of the Buncombe County Courthouse. Sergeant Arledge was assisting Patrolman Canipe administer a breathalyzer test when the suspect was able to gain control of one of the officers' handguns and shoot them both. The suspect was arrested the next day by a deputy sheriff in Asheville.
The suspect was convicted of two counts of first degree murder and sentenced to two life terms in prison on March 28, 1975. He died in prison on September 5, 1995.
Sergeant Arledge had been with the agency for 23 years and was survived by his wife and two daughters.
In August 2000 a six-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 74 in Polk County was renamed Sgt. W. Dean Arledge Memorial Highway in honor of Sergeant Arledge.