Chief of Police Rufus Nicholson Gilbreath

Chief of Police Rufus Nicholson Gilbreath

Wink Police Department, Texas

End of Watch Saturday, June 1, 1929

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Rufus Nicholson Gilbreath

Chief of Police R. N. Gilbreath relieved the desk sergeant and went into an empty cell in the city jail to repair a chain used to lock down unruly prisoners. Apparently the chief’s pistol fell from his holster and discharged. The bullet passed through his left wrist and entered his skull near his nose. He was found lying in the cell by the desk sergeant. He was taken to the hospital and died at 12:11 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, 1929. An inquest was held by the coroner and his death was held to have been accidental.

Gilbreath was buried in the Middleton Chapel Cemetery, Wainwright, Muskogee County, Oklahoma. Gilbreath was married and had four children residing in Oklahoma. He had arrived in Wink 15 months earlier and had been employed as the chief of police for about one year.


  • Age 53
  • Tour 1 year
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire (Inadvertent)
  • Incident Date Friday, May 31, 1929

Most Recent Reflection

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Chief Gilbreath,
On today, the 90th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Wink. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

BPA Mike Casey
United States Border Patrol
El Paso Station

June 1, 2019

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