Patrolman Donald W. Gaskin

Patrolman Donald W. Gaskin

Louisville Police Department, Kentucky

End of Watch Tuesday, December 30, 1969

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Donald W. Gaskin

Patrolman Donald Gaskin and Detective James Ratliff were shot and killed when they responded to a robbery call at a local grocery store at 2328 Osage Avenue.

Two suspects were inside the store when Patrolman Gaskin arrived at the scene. The suspect ordered the store clerk to open the door, and as Patrolman Gaskin entered, he was shot by the suspect.

Detective Ratliff and his partner arrived just as Patrolman Gaskin was shot. As the detectives ran for cover, another shot was fired and struck Detective Ratliff.

During an ensuing shootout, two other officers and the two suspects were wounded. Patrolman Gaskin succumbed to his wounds before reaching the hospital. Detective Ratliff succumbed to his injuries approximately five hours later during surgery.

Both suspects were convicted of both murders and sentenced to death. Their sentences were later commuted to life. In 1980, they were paroled with the condition that they never return to Jefferson County.

Patrolman Gaskin was a U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War and had served with the Louisville Police Department for six years. He was survived by his brother.


  • Age 31
  • Tour 6 years
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .45 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to life


Most Recent Reflection

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“Patrolled in 1980”. I do not and have never understood our justice system. RIP Brothers. You will never be forgotten.

Former LEO. OH & GA Harrison Nelson

December 30, 2023

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