End of Watch: Remembering El Paso’s fallen law enforcement officers

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The death of Deputy Peter Herrera marks the first time an El Paso County Sheriff’s Deputy has died in the line of duty since 2009 when Detention Officer Cesar Arreola died from a medical emergency while participating in tryouts for his agency’s Special Reaction Team. The last time an EPCSO officer died in the line of durty from gunfire was nearly 80 years ago, in 1940. 

In total, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office has lost 10 deputies or detention officers, including Deputy Herrera, since 1895. El Paso Police Department has lost 31 officers since 1883. Seven El Paso Police Officers have died by gunfire since 1950 and Deputy Herrera is the only law enforcement officer from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department to have died by gunfire in the same timeframe. 

As the community mourns the death of Deputy Herrera, we also remember the other law enforcement officers who have given their lives in El Paso County in the line of duty. 

Deputy Peter Herrera EPCSO
End of Watch: March 24, 2019
Incident: Shot in the line of duty during a traffic stop. Suspect Facundo Chavez is in custody at the El Paso County Detention Center. Capital Murder charges are expected to be filed Monday. 

Patrolman David Ortiz – EPPD
End of Watch: March 14, 2016
Incident: Motorcycle struck from behind while stopped at the intersection of Lee Trevino and Vista Del Sol Drive. 

John Paul Perry, the driver of the vehicle who hit Officer Ortiz, was said to be on heroin and Xanax at the time of the crash. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 40 years in prison in January 2017.

Patrolman Adrian Arellano – EPPD
End of Watch: March 18, 2015
Incident: Officer Arrellano died when his police motorcycle crashed into another vehicle at the intersection of N. Yarbrough Dr. and Edgemere Blvd. while escorting a funeral procession through the intersection. 

Constable Rober Parker White
End of Watch: Nov. 1, 2014
Incident: Constable White was killed while working an overtime assignment in Canutillo. White was assaulted by a subject and during the struggle, fell to the ground was unable to get up. He died from his injuries. 

Patrolman Angel Garcia – EPPD
End of Watch: December 12, 2012
Incident: Officer Garcia was hit by a car on I-10 near the Hawkins Blvd. exit while attempting to remove a ladder that had fallen on the interstate around 7:15 a.m.

Another vehicle swerved to avoid hitting Officer Garcia’s marked unit but ended up hitting another vehicle, causing a chain reaction crash. Officer Garcia was hit during the crash and sustained fatal injuries.  

Patrolman Jonathan Molina – EPPD
End of Watch: October 5, 2012
Incident: Officer Molina was off-duty when he encountered three minors vandalizing his vehicle on Trowbridge Dr. near U.S. 54. He identified himself as an El Paso Police Officer and while speaking with one of the teens, one punched him and knocked him to the ground, knocking him unconscious. He died after ten days in the hospital. 

Juan Antonio Gonzalez, who was 17 at the time of the incident, was captured and charged with capital murder of a peace officer. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Patrolman Karl McDonough – EPPD
End of Watch: October 13, 2010
Incident: McDonough was killed when his patrol car was struck by a drunk driver at the intersection of Zaragoza Rd. and Saul Kleinfeld. Officer McDonough’s patrol unit was pushed into a light pole and he was killed. His partner, Officer Ricardo Lopez, was also seriously injured. 

Alejandro Fierro was convicted of manslaughter. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.  

Sergeant Ruben Orozco Sr. – EPCSO
End of Watch: September 17, 2005
Incident: Sgt. Orozco was killed in a crash on I-10 near Trowbridge Dr. The wheel from a truck traveling in the opposite direction broke off, flew across the median and struck Sgt. Orozco’s patrol car on the roof and driver’s door.

The patrol car scraped along the center median before coming to a stop a quarter-mile later. Sgt. Orozco was transported to what was then Thomason Hospital where he died. 

Patrolman Angel Barcena – EPPD
End of Watch: September 25, 2004
Incident: Officer Barcena and his partner were responding to a domestic dispute call in the 600 block of Bristol in West El Paso. 

Upon arrival, suspect Theodore Berry, who was reportedly intoxicated at the time of the incident, opened fire on Barcena, striking him twice. Barcena was transported to Beaumont Army Medical Center where he died from a severed artery. 

Berry was later convicted of Capital Murder and sentenced to death. His sentence was later reduced to life in prison. At the time of his death, Barcena had served in the El Paso Police Department for just one month. 

Patrolman Ernesto Serna – EPPD
End of Watch: November 12, 1991
Incident: Serna was working security at a Wal-Mart store when he saw a man take a coat from a rack and walk out of the store without paying. 

While confronting the suspect, Serna was shot in the face and killed. Serna was able to return fire, striking the suspect three times, killing him. All of Sernas three sons went on to serve in the El Paso Police Department. 

Detective Norman Montion – EPPD
End of Watch: October 16, 1989
Incident: Detective Montion was shot and killed by former business promotor, Richard Stratton,  who raised money for police associations, opened fire on Montion while he was working at the promotions business on his lunch break.

Montion was shot in the chest and another employee at the promotions business was also shot and killed. Despite suffering a fatal chest wound, Montion was able to get off a shot that struck and killed Stratton. It was later discovered that Stratton had murdered his wife before entering the promotions business. 


Detective Charles Heinrich – EPPD
End of Watch: August 29, 1985
Incident: Heinrich was shot while on duty March 3, 1983, and died of his injuries two years later.

Detective Heinrich and his partner stopped to speak with a man his partner recognized as a person he’d arrested on weapons charges in the past. As the pair started walking toward the suspect, he opened fire, striking Detective Heinrich in the head. He was taken to a hospital where he remained in a coma until his death two years later. At the time of his death, Heinrich had just been named Detective of the Year.

Patrolman Wayne Carreon – EPPD
End of Watch: June 10, 1981
Incident: Officer Carreon was hit by a dump truck while directing traffic on I-10 near Cotton Street. The driver of the dump truck hit two additional vehicles before finally coming to a stop. 

Patrolman David Bannister – EPPD
End of Watch: June 3, 1974
Incident: Patrolman Bannister was in pursuit of a juvenile suspect who had taken his car without permission. During the chase, the teen slammed on the brakes, causing Bannister to swerve to avoid a crash.

Officer Bannister hit the median and rolled, causing a fatal head injury. 

Patrolman Gus Myers, Jr. – EPPD
End of Watch: July 24, 1970
Incident: Officer Myers was killed in a motorcycle crash while responding to an accident. A car pulled into an intersection and hit Myers. 

Patrolman Roger A. Hamilton – EPPD
End of Watch: June 21, 1970
Incident: Officer Hamilton was struck by a drunk driver on I-10 while directing traffic around an accident. The suspect in the case was driving at a high rate of speed and failed to slow ahead of the crash scene. 

Deputy Sheriff Pat Slape- EPCSO
End of Watch: March 10, 1968
Incident: Deputy Slape was killed when his patrol car was hit by a train at a guarded crossing while on patrol in Fabens.  

Patrolman Arthur Lavender, Jr. – EPPD
End of Watch: December 16, 1966
Incident: Officer Lavender was heading home on his police motorcycle after his shift when he was hit by a car who made a sudden lane change next to him on Magoffin Ave. near Brown Street. 

The motorcycle flipped three times, eventually coming to rest on Officer Lavender’s body. He was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. 

Detective Guillermo Sanchez – EPPD
End of Watch: December 14, 1957
Incident: Detective Sanchez and his partner responded to an armed robbery at a drive-in theater in the 600 block of Chelsea St. 

Detective Sanchez and his partner handcuffed the two suspects together and placed them in a patrol car. One of the suspects was able to get one of the detectives’ guns and shot Detective Sanchez in the head. The other officer was also shot and wounded. Both suspects were shot and killed by responding officers.

Patrolman Warren Mitchell – EPPD
End of Watch: May 16, 1953
Incident: Officer Mitchell was shot and killed by a man who fired a rifle into a fast-food restaurant after being turned down for a job. Officers responded to the man’s home to arrest him. As they approached, the suspect opened fire on them. 

Officer Mitchell returned to his cruiser to try to call for help but was shot in the head and killed.  The suspect was later deemed insane and committed to the Rusk State Mental Hospital. Two years later he was deemed sane and released.

Detective Ralph Marmolejo – EPPD
End of Watch: March 17, 1951
Incident: Detective Marmolejo and his partner were searching for two suspicious men who were seen entering a railroad yard. The pair decided to split up to search for the men when Marmolejo found one and was shot in the stomach.

Detective Marmolejo was able to return fire, wounding the suspect. Marmolejo later died as a result of his injuries. He was only 22 at the time of his death. 

Deputy Sheriff John Cramer – EPCSO
End of Watch: April 26, 1940
Incident: Deputy Cramer was shot and killed by a prisoner. 

Funeral services for Deputy Peter Herrera have yet to be announced. Stay with KTSM for continuing coverage. 

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