When homeowners build privacy fences, they usually do so to keep unwanted people out of their house, not the other way around. It’s one of the reasons why, according to U.S. zoning committee experts estimates, 80-90% of fence applications are for stockade fences. However, Alabama state trooper Gary Shannon Gates’s family likely wished its privacy fence had kept him inside their property, where he could be caught, following his nightmarish spree of terror.
Last October, Gates drove to his estranged wife’s home while under the influence, and threatened to kill her and himself with his service weapon. The wife called 911, prompting Gates to flee. He later returned, after officers had already responded to her call for help. Upon seeing the officers, Gates ran to the back of the yard, hopped the fence, and bolted into the woods, leaving his state police vehicle behind.
The next day, officers caught up with Gates at his home, where they found him passed out on the floor. According to internal documents, Gates committed domestic violence in the third degree and violated state personnel and Alabama Department of Public Safety rules and regulations. Rather than jail, Gates was taken to a rehabilitation clinic, where he began an alcohol treatment program. He was also allowed to keep to his job.
In 2011, a Tuscaloosa-man was arrested and charged with the same crimes as Gates, but instead of going to rehab, was sentenced to a year of probation.
Gates returned to work in mid-March, and was demoted from corporal to trooper, a decision that went against the Alabama Department of Public Safety’s own discipline guide.
“The investigative results, taking into account Trooper Gates’ overall positive 12 year work history, still warranted severe disciplinary action; demotion from the rank of Corporal to Trooper,” the Highway Patrol said in a statement.