El Paso County Law Enforcement Memorial Wall honors deputies killed in line of duty: Trish Long

The El Paso County Law Enforcement Memorial Wall was unveiled Aug. 2, 2016. The names on the wall include Sheriff's Office deputies, county constables, and policemen. The dates for the officers range from 1895 to 2019.

At the time of the unveiling, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office was represented on the wall by eight names, dating back to 1913.

The name of slain El Paso County Sheriff's Deputy Peter Herrera was added to the wall in May 2019.

Herrera was mortally wounded when he was shot several times during a graveyard-shift traffic stop on March 22, 2019, in San Elizario. He died at a hospital two days later.

Herrera, 35, was an 11-year veteran with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. He was a deputy for more than five years after first working as a detention officer. He and his wife, Ashley, were married in November 2018.

More: El Paso Deputy Peter Herrera final words revealed in capital murder trial

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office held its annual memorial Tuesday, May 14, 2019, at its headquarters in east El Paso. Deputy Peter Herrera’s name was added to the County Law Enforcement Memorial this year after he was shot and killed during a traffic stop in San Elizario. Herrera's father, Luis Herrera, and widow, Ashley Herrera, react after unveiling his name.

During the addition of Hererra's name to the memorial, a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter did a fly-over and the Sheriff's Office SWAT Rifle Team did a 21-gun salute.

Facundo Chavez and his girlfriend, Arlene Piña, were charged in connection with the deputy’s death.

Piña was originally charged with capital murder. However, the charge was reduced to manslaughter. She was sentenced to 15 years in state prison.

The trial of Chavez, who faces one count of capital murder of a peace officer, began Tuesday, July.

Following is a list of officers on the memorial wall:

El Paso County Sheriff's Office

Detention Officer Cesar Arreola — 2009

Detention Officer Cesar Arreola, 37 died Jan. 18, 2009, after falling ill during tryouts for the Sheriff's Office Special Response Team. At about 9 a.m., while he was participating in the tryouts, Arreola began feeling shortness of breath and feeling lightheaded after completing the assessment. Medical staff on site began treating him and he was later transported to Sierra-Providence East. He died about 5 a.m. the next day.

Sgt. Ruben Orozco Sr. — 2005

Sgt. Ruben Orozco Sr., 51, died Sept. 17, 2005, when his patrol car was struck by an airborne wheel on Interstate 10, near the Trowbridge Drive exit, after working an assignment at Sun Bowl Stadium.

He was memorialized October 2006 during a dedication ceremony at the Sheriff's Region 8 Training Academy when El Paso County Sheriff Leo Samaniego, deputies of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, friends and family gathered at the training academy to dedicate the Sgt. Ruben Orozco Memorial Field and Track to him.

Gov. Rick Perry posthumously awarded Orozco the 2006 Star of Texas Award. Texas legislators in 2003 approved the award to honor first responders seriously injured or killed on duty.

Deputy Lonnie "Pat" Slape — 1968

Deputy Lonnie "Pat" Slape, 32, died in Hotel Dieu Hospital on March 11, 1968. About 12:15 p.m., his patrol car was struck by a Southern Pacific freight train in Fabens. The force of the impact ripped the patrol car in two, flipping the main portion of the wreckage about 54 feet, with the chassis and other debris being thrown nearly 140 feet, coming to rest on a sidewalk.

Carl Lovett, the engineer of the train, said he had no way of avoiding the collision and that the patrol car drove directly in front of the locomotive. Slape apparently did not see the train. A Department of Public Safety spokesman said Slape's view of the approaching train was "cut off by a building adjacent to the tracks on the east side of the roadway."

Deputy John R. Cramer — 1940

Deputy John R. Cramer, 55, was found dead in his car, from a bullet wound and three slashes across the abdomen. Cramer was found in his car a mile west of Clint, on April 26, 1940.

About 2:30 p.m. Cramer arrested Rosalio Ontiveros on a complaint that he had abused Adella Frederico. Cramer was holding Ontiveros until he could contact Justice of the Peace C.B. Palm of Clint to file a charge. Witnesses said that Ontiveros was in the front passenger seat. Less than five hours later, Ontiveros was shot to death. Officers trailed him 20 miles through the desert northeast of Clint, finally overtaking him, shooting him seven times.

Deputy Sheriff Harry Wiley announced: "The case is closed. We know now why Cramer arrested Ontiveros, and why Ontiveros killed Cramer. Ontiveros didn't want to face the kind of charge that Cramer was going to file."

Deputy V.O. White — 1934

Deputy V.O. White, 38, died Aug. 28, 1934, on the same floor of the Masonic hospital where his wife was recovering from the birth of their 4-day-old daughter, Willie Mae.

White visited with his newborn daughter for a few minutes after her birth on Aug. 26 before "hurrying down the valley on his motorcycle to tell his friends he was a father." White and County Highway Officer O.B. Pearce noticed a speeding automobile swerving from side to side.

The two gave chase and caught up to the car as it swerved to miss another car. White was unable to clear the two vehicles and was thrown from his motorcycle. White had cuts on his head and shoulders, a fractured right leg and internal injuries.

Capt. Allan G. Falby arrested the driver of the car, Robert Seegrave, a few minutes later. Seegrave was one of White's closest friends. White was rushed to the Masonic hospital where, in a semiconscious state, he called the baby's name and asked for his wife. Mrs. White was in no condition to be taken to his room. She became hysterical when told of her husband's death.

Deputy Shafter H. Wheeler — 1933

Deputy Shafter H. Wheeler, 31, was shot and killed Nov. 5, 1933, after responding to a call of a man with a gun at Dalton's cafe.

Wheeler entered the cafe, followed by John Moore. Moore pointed to W.H. Jenes without saying a word. Wheeler walked around in front of Jenes, who was sitting at the counter with his hand holding a pistol. Moore later related that Wheeler asked, "Do you have a gun?"

"You're _ _ right I've got a gun," Jenes was quoted as saying.

There was a loud report and a blaze of fire, witnesses said. Wheeler turned and fell to the floor. The bullet struck him in the left temple, a little above and in front of the ear.

Jenes then put the gun in his pocket and walked over to the La Tuna Gin, where a Methodist Sunday school class was meeting.

He brandished the gun and terrorized half a dozen women, telling them they would have to leave. Mrs. A.T. Coe tapped Jenes on the shoulder and demanded that he lay down his gun, which he did. The Sunday school superintendent, Edwin Selby, took the gun and ran out of the building. A few minutes later, four officers from El Paso arrived. When they attempted to arrest Jenes, he drew a knife. After a struggle, Jenes was handcuffed.

Deputy Robert Alexander Trice — 1931

Robert Alexander Trice, 54, a night watchman and a deputy sheriff in Clint, was shot and killed between 2:15 and 2:30 a.m. Nov. 19, 1931, in front of Dalton & Jones store. It was thought that he surprised burglars while they were attempting to break into the store.

Trice was shot three times at close range, with one bullet entering his chest, a second his forehead, and a third glancing off his forehead. Powder burns on the sidewalk indicate that the third shot was fired while Trice was down and at close range.

Fingerprints taken at the scene were "remarkably similar" to those of Galdino Godoy, held in the Juárez jail on a charge of robbery in the United States. Godoy and two companions, Jose Gonzalez and Pedro Ruiz, were arrested by Juárez police when El Paso officers asked them to assist in the search for Trice's murderers. Gregorio Ortega, sought as one of the men who killed Trice, was killed in a battle with border officers at San Elizario on June 20, 1932.

Deputy William Henry Garlick — 1913

Deputy William Henry Garlick and Ranger Scott Russell were killed shortly before 3 p.m. June 23, 1913. The pair entered the Eje del Barrio Libre grocery in Smeltertown, owned by the Guaderrama family, to purchase tobacco.

Shortly after entering the store, Garlick and Russell were attacked, shot and killed. Revenge was believed to be the motive. The two officers had arrested Sabino Guaderrama the previous week on a charge of cattle rustling.

According to the statement of a Mexican woman who had just left the store prior to the shooting, the officers asked for tobacco when they entered. The woman left the store and the shooting started. There were no eyewitnesses to the crime except those who were implicated. Five members of the Guaderrama family were tried for the murders. The jury deadlocked on Jan. 22, 1914.

When the second trial was called in the 34th District Court in June 1915, the state was represented by W.W. Bridgers and Hudspeth & Dale, as special counsel, appointed by the governor. The defendants were represented by Mayor Tom Lea and J.A. Gillet. Lea had participated in the first trial and felt "duty bound to carry out his agreement to defend the men.

On June 17, 1915, Juan Guaderrama was found guilty of murder in the second degree and given five years in the state prison. Jesus and David Guaderrama were found not guilty and were released.

El Paso County Constables

Constable Robert Parker White — 2014

El PasoTimes edition from Nov. 2, 2014, reported White, who was constable for Precinct 1, died in a fight while working security detail in Canutillo during a Halloween event.

White was punched in the face and then fell to the ground; he was not responding and "bleeding profusely.

White was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The investigation revealed White and 19-year-old Devon Huerta-Person were involved in a fight. Huerta-Person was arrested on suspicion of capital murder and was booked into El Paso County Jail on a $5 million bond.

After two mistrials, state prosecutors filed a motion in May 2018, to dismiss the aggravated assault charge against Huerta-Person.

Constable Samuel J. Stepp — 1920.

From the Times, Jan 2, 1920, Before nightfall, another El Paso county peace officer likely will have made the supreme sacrifice for performing his duties because of being shot by a man he was attempting to arrest.

No hope is held for the recovery of Sam Stepp, constable of the Smelter precinct, who was wounded with two bullets in the abdomen and one in the right wrist, from an army automatic in the hands of R.C. Crie, a soldier he shot to death.

One of the shots knocked the hand grips off Constable Stepp’s gun. With his gun in this condition and his wrist broken, he fired the shot that penetrated Crie’s heart.

When the constable reached the hospital, he was still conscious. He walked to the operating table, called for his wife, and told her he would get well.

Death claimed Stepp at 7 p.m. Friday at Providence Hospital.

George R. Gaddy, of the Nineteenth Infantry, who was charged with murder in connection with the killing of Stepp, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to serve 20 years in the penitentiary.

Constable Carlos C. Carpio — 1910

On Dec. 12, 1910, Francisco Apodaca and Gabriel Padillo who were charged with the murder of Constable Carlos Carpio, of Socorro, had a hearing before Justice McClintock.

The evidence introduced by the state showed that on the night of Dec. 1 there was a big dance at Socorro, and everybody was drinking some; during the progress of the dance, a young man who had fallen down in the yard and cut his hand entered the ballroom and took a seat; that Constable Carpio notice the bleeding hand and quit dancing and walked over to the young man to ask the cause of his injury.

Francisco Apodaca, Gabriel Padillo, and several of their friends resented the officer’s inquiry into the cause of the bleeding hand. Witnesses saw one man grasp the officer around the waist from behind while Apodaca was trying to take the officer’s pistol. There was a shot fired and Apodaca ran to the other side of the room with a pistol in his hand, which he refused to surrender until the town marshal took it from him.

Though the wounded constable lived some days, he never could tell his wife who shot him.

Carlos Carpio was elected constable last month and had assumed the duties of his office the day before he was shot.

Constable Gus Krempkau — 1881

In a Sept. 16, 1985, article by R.M. Moore about El Paso prior to 1881 the following mention on the subhead “Law and Order” recalled the murder of Krempkau:

A new set of policemen had been appointed and sworn in April 15, I believe, under the new marshal, named (Dallas) Stoudemire. The “outs” were under the lead of a man by the name of Campbell, George, as I remember. Then there was another fierce fellow named Gilgerson, or a name like that. Sometime in the night of the 12 th two men had been killed a short distance above the old Mrs. Roman adobe hotel, and the marshal had sent two policemen, one of whom was Gus Krempkau, a San Antonio boy, to bring in the dead men.

Campbell and one of his outs met Krempkau and fellow policeman about the middle of El Paso street, where San Antonio street joins it. I was sitting with a railroad man on the south side about a quarter of the block from the junction of the two streets as described above. Then the two parties met, Campbell said to Krempau: “Cus, I didn’t expect this of you; taking service under the new marshal.” Krempkau replied: “George, I’ll see you directly.” Campbell replied: “No, you don’t,” and shot Krempkau dead.

The marshal, quick as a flash, shot Campbell and his supporter dead, and one other. And, in scarcely no time, there lay at the junction of those two streets four dead men.

Anthony Police Department

Officer Ernesto Rascon — 1976

On June 27, 1976, Officer Ernesto Rason was investigating a burglary and pursued the suspect. In a scuffle, the suspect took Rascon’s gun and shot him twice.

According to Anthony Mayor Adrian Baca, Rascon was patrolling the streets and stopped his car when he saw a man trying to break into a home at about 7:40 p.m. and when he tried to apprehend him, the suspect fled.

Rascon caught up to the man, they scuffled, and the man pulled the officer’s gun and shot him twice.

When the Anthony police dispatcher got no response from Rascon, on a routine check, a second car was sent. Officer Demetrio Cuellar found Rascon lying on the ground beside his blood-spattered car. He called an ambulance.

Officer Rascon was unconscious when the ambulance took him to Providence Memorial Hospital, where he died at 8:50 p.m.

In March 1977, Theodore Mapula, 27, was placed on five years’ probation after being found guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the death of Rascon.

A jury of six men and six women deliberated for 14 hours before reaching its manslaughter verdict but took less than an hour to assess probation as the punishment.

Dist. Atty. Steve Simmons, who prosecuted Mapula on a capital murder indictment, had asked the maximum sentence for voluntary manslaughter: 20 years in the state penitentiary. Earlier, he had sought the death penalty for murder.

San Elizario Police

Officer Dionisio Soto — 1895

Sept. 29, 1895, the Times reported that unknown parties at San Elizario assaulted Policeman Dionicio Soto of that town and beat him into insensibility. The officer was in a very critical condition yesterday morning and was not expected t live. Deputy Sheriff Garcia has arrested several men living on the island on suspicion. Friday was the anniversary of San Elizario, the patron saint of that town and the people celebrated until Saturday morning, and among the celebrators were several tough characters from the island.

Two men were tried in the death of Soto.

31 Oct. 1895, The case of the state vs. Jose Sierra, charged with murdering Soto was called in the district court. Considerable trouble was experienced in securing a jury, as many disqualified by stating they entertained conscientious scruples against the enforcement of the death penalty, while others said they had, from what they had read in the papers, formed opinions which would influence them in finding a verdict. As no paper in El Paso ever attempted to give any particulars relative to the killing of the San Elizario officer, the jurors probably formed their opinions from something the read in a San Elizario paper.

The following day the jury returned a verdict of guilt and assessed Jose Sierra’s punishment at five years in the penitentiary.

Nov. 10, 1895, In the district court in the case of the state vs. Severo Cordero, charged with murdering Officer De Soto of San Elizario, resulted in a conviction. The jury assessed Cordero’s punishment at ten years in the penitentiary.

Trish Long may be reached at tlong@elpasotimes.com or 915-546-6179.

This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: El Paso County sheriff's Deputy Peter Herrera was added to the wall in 2019