Deputy Sheriff John E. Rafter

Deputy Sheriff John E. Rafter

Rockingham County Sheriff's Office, Virginia

End of Watch Monday, February 7, 1983

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John E. Rafter

Deputy Sheriff John Rafter was shot and killed after he became overpowered by a prisoner he was transporting to the Augusta County Jail, Virginia.

Deputy Rafter had stopped to assist a disabled motorist on the exit ramp from I-81 to U.S. Route 250 when the prisoner overpowered him and gained control of his .357 caliber service revolver. The suspect shot Deputy Rafter as they struggled in the front seat of the patrol car.

The suspect was convicted of murdering Deputy Rafter and sent to prison.

Deputy Rafter had served with the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office for six years. He was survived by his wife, parents, brother, and sister.


  • Age 28
  • Tour 6 years
  • Badge 214

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Not available

escape attempt, transport

Most Recent Reflection

View all 16 Reflections

John, Missing you all of my life. You were a good role model to me, a rookie with Harrisonburg police dept. at the time. Wishing you had a car with cage for transport and waist and foot restraints for your prisoner
I hope you know the positive effect you had on the youth of Rockingham co. You are greatly missed and will be forever missed by your brothers in blue/brown/gray and blue. RIP My friend and Godspeed ROCKINGHAM 214. Mike Stanley Hpd 16.

Michael W. Stanley HPD, PCSO

February 4, 2020

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