Patrolman Gary D. McCullen

Patrolman Gary D. McCullen

Saginaw Police Department, Michigan

End of Watch Friday, December 8, 1967

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Gary D. McCullen

Patrolman Gary McCullen was shot and killed by the owner of a bar when he and two other officers entered the bar seeking suspects. The suspects were watned in connection with the robbery of a bowling alley and two bars earlier in the evening that resulted in two other officers being shot.

Patrolman McCullen, and the other officers in civilian clothing, entered the Annex bar through the fire exit, carrying their shotguns while a uniformed officer waited outside the front entrance. The officers shouted that two officers had been shot and ordered everyone to freeze.

As Patrolman McCullen disarmed the bouncer, the bar's owner opened fire from a storage room hitting Patrolman McCullen in the back. Patrolman McCullen began running to the storage room, but collapsed from his injuries as he reached steps leading to the room. Despite being mortally wounded, Patrolman McCullen returned fire as the bar owner fired again through the door hitting Patrolman McCullen once in the head. Upon hearing the shots the uniformed officer entered the bar and shouted that they were police officers.

The bar owner testified that he believed that the two officers were the same robbers that struck other bars earlier that evening and did not realize they were policemen until the uniformed officer entered the bar. He was charged with manslaughter, but the case was dismissed as a combination of self defense and mistaken identity on February 2nd, 1968.

Patrolman McCullen had served with the Saginaw Police Department for three years. He was survived by his wife.


  • Age 21
  • Tour 3 years
  • Badge 48

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Manslaughter charges dismissed

Most Recent Reflection

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I cannot completely convey the sorrow I feel about Gary's passing.
I was, unfortunately, at the hospital when Betsy was told of Gary's passing.
She would not recall. I had just walked in when the doctor delivered the word. With her family there, I chose to leave rather than drag out any kind of encounter.
I left because, her family (I would hope) comforted her.
Why did I leave? I was working for a local TV station (then it was WKNX) and had been called in to deliver whatever I could discover.
Not what I expected when I saw Betsy....AND, I knew who the boyfriend she had whom she had married....
She and I had been in school together since 6th grade.
I saw her when the Doctor told her that Gary was gone... and there was NO way I could interrupt that situation....
I left the hospital and returned to the station.

Richard Smith
Retired (from Media)

April 24, 2021

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