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Police Officer Gene A. Clifton | Palo Alto Police Department, California Palo Alto Police Department, California

Police Officer

Gene A. Clifton

Palo Alto Police Department, California

End of Watch: Friday, November 19, 1971

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 27

Tour: 4 years

Badge # 47

Cause: Gunfire

Incident Date: 10/1/1971

Weapon: Handgun

Offender: Shot by return fire and captured.

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Officer Gene Clifton died as a result of a gunshot wound received on October 1, 1971.

Officer Clifton was fatally wounded during a joint operation with the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and the Palo Alto Police Department. A team of officers were attempting to execute a search warrant at a residence. The officers were already inside the residence when a suspect fired shots at the officers and ran into a bedroom. Officer Clifton was standing outside the bedroom when the suspect continued shooting, and a bullet went through the wall and struck him in the abdomen.

After Officer Clifton was shot another Palo Alto officer shot the suspect in the face with a shotgun.

Officer Clifton had served with the Palo Alto Police Department for four years. He is survived by his wife, parents, and two sisters.

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Most Recent Reflection

It has been so long ago yet is in my mind like yesterday. Gene and Brian were the Palo Alto Narcotic Squad. Brian was off and Gene put together a search warrant. I with three other agents from the then Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs came to Palo Alto to help.
I remember the entrance, Gene secured the people in the living room, and I went past to see this creep run into a closet in the bedroom. I remember seeing his hand holding the .45 jut out of the closet and point at me. I hit the deck while he was firing. The bullet Gene took was meant for me. It went over me, striking a wall plug, deflecting into Gene.
Indeed a tragic night but we all thought he was going to make it. After that and the last time I saw Gene was in my office in San Francisco. He was going to apply with BNDD. Shortly after that, it came as a terrible shock that he had died.
I take comfort in what Jesus says at John 5:28 which reads "Do not marvel at this, because the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice .. and come out......"
I look forward to seeing Gene again. He certainly has not been forgotten.

Bill Hardin - Special Agent (retired)
DEA - Formerly BNDD
December 21, 2013


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