Major Rufus Gates

End of Watch Monday, November 7, 1994

memphis police association fallen officers_0006_Rufus Gates

Major Rufus Gates

Major Rufus Gates died after being shot by another officer who did not recognize him as an officer.

 Major Gates was off-duty with his son and nephew when his car was stuck by another car. Major Gates exited his vehicle to talk to the driver of the other vehicle. Major Gates returned to his vehicle, retrieved his service weapon and told his son to call 911 and tell them the driver of the other car had a gun. Major Gates returned to the other car and was talking to the occupants when a Memphis Police Officer pulled onto the scene. The driver of the car that hit Major Gates told the officer that Major Gates had a gun, and then drove off. Major Gates, gun in hand approached the Memphis Police Officer's car, but never identified himself as a Police Officer. Fearing his life was in danger, the officer fired four shots. Major Gates was removed to the hospital where he died three days later from his wounds. 

Major Gates had been with the agency for 17 years and is survived by his wife and son.


  • Age: 39
  • Tour: 17 years
  • Badge: 62

Incident Details

  • Cause: Gunfire (Inadvertent)
  • Incident Date: Friday, November 4, 1994