James R Ratliff

End of Watch: Tuesday, December 30, 1969

Biographical Info

Age: 47

Tour of Duty: 23 years

Rank: Detective

Assignment: Patrol

Badge Number: Not available

Incident Details

Cause of Death: Gunfire

Date of Incident: December 30, 1969

Incident Location: 2328 Osage Avenue

Weapon Used: Handgun, .45 caliber

Case Status: Closed

James Ratliff


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

Two (2) 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 (2) other officers and the two (2) suspects were wounded. Patrolman Gaskin succumbed to his wounds before reaching the hospital. Detective Ratliff succumbed to his injuries approximately five (5) hours later during surgery.

Both suspects were convicted of both murders and sentenced to death. Their sentenced were later commuted to life.

Detective Ratliff had served with the department for 23 years. He is survived by his wife and son.

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