Lieutenant Ronald D. Oliver

Lieutenant Ronald D. Oliver

Memphis Police Department, Tennessee

End of Watch Wednesday, August 5, 1981

Ronald D. Oliver

Lieutenant Oliver was shot and killed after he and several other officers responded a silent alarm call at Wendy's Restaurant. Unknown to any of the responding officers a man armed with a .45-caliber handgun had tied up the employees and was robbing the store. When Lieutenant Oliver arrived he encountered a man exiting the building. When Lieutenant Oliver approached the suspect fled on foot. Lieutenant Oliver and a second officer who had responded pursued the suspect, catching him and tackling him to the ground.

While on the ground the suspect drew his .45-caliber handgun and opened fire killing Lieutenant Oliver and wounding the other officer. The suspect began to flee on foot when a third officer arrived and exchanged shots with the suspect. The suspect then fled on foot and was apprehended about an hour later.

The suspect was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. He was executed in May 2007.

Lieutenant Oliver had served with the Memphis Police Department for 20 years. He is survived by his wife, daughter, and stepson.


  • Age 43
  • Tour 20 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .45 caliber
  • Offender Executed in 2007

Most Recent Reflection

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My dad, Owen B. Holcomb, considered Ronnie his best friend and never got over his death. I was very young and remember attending the funeral. My dad was reunited with Ronnie in the spring of 2016 and I hope the Oliver family takes comfort in this reunion of friends as much as I do. A good man gone too soon.

Michael Holcomb

September 21, 2017

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