Major Rufus Gates

Major Rufus Gates

Memphis Police Department, Tennessee

End of Watch Monday, November 7, 1994

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Rufus Gates

Major Rufus Gates died after being shot by another officer who did not recognize him as an officer.

He was off-duty with his son and nephew when his car was struck by another vehicle on McClure Road next to the Whitehaven High School football stadium. After exiting his vehicle to talk to the driver of the other vehicle he returned to his car, retrieved his service weapon, and told his son to call 911 to report that the other driver was armed.

Major Gates had returned to the other car and was talking to the occupants when a Memphis police officer pulled onto the scene. The driver of the car that hit Major Gates told the officer that Major Gates had a gun and then drove off. Major Gates was still holding his gun as he approached the Memphis officer's car.

Not recognizing Major Gates, the officer fired several shots and fatally wounded him. Major Gates was transported to the hospital where he died from his wounds three days later.

Major Gates had served with the Memphis Police Department for 17 years. He is survived by his wife and son.


  • Age 39
  • Tour 17 years
  • Badge 62

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire (Inadvertent)
  • Incident Date Friday, November 4, 1994

mistaken identity, off duty

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Jesus Christ, during His Sermon on the Mount, proclaimed, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons [children] of God.” [Matthew 5:9]

Chaplain Steven R. Closs, D.Div, MSBS, NCCA
Ordained/Licensed Independent Christian Clergy
Merrimack, NH 03054

Captain Steven R. Closs (Ret.)
Nashua NH Police Department

February 22, 2021

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