Lieutenant Clarence Purvis Cox, Jr.

Lieutenant Clarence Purvis Cox, Jr.

Memphis Police Department, Tennessee

End of Watch Tuesday, May 12, 1981

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Clarence Purvis Cox, Jr.

Lieutenant Clarence Cox was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a suspect who was wanted for escape and for the murder of a priest.

He had encountered the subject near the intersection of N Lauderdale Street and Exchange Avenue and attempted to take him into custody.

The suspect was able to gain control of Lieutenant Cox's service weapon and shoot him with it. The man was later arrested in Jackson, Tennessee. He was sentenced to death but later murdered in prison by other death row inmates.

Lieutenant Cox was a United States Navy veteran and had served with the Memphis Police Department for 22 years.


  • Age 53
  • Tour 22 years
  • Badge 99
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Killed in prison

escapee, murder suspect, warrant service

Most Recent Reflection

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I believe today would have been your 94th birthday. Rest in peace Lt. Cox. The citizens of Memphis have not forgotten your life, career and heroically humble sacrifice.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

January 18, 2022

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