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Patrolman Dale Dewain Claxton | Cortez Police Department, Colorado Cortez Police Department, Colorado


Dale Dewain Claxton

Cortez Police Department, Colorado

End of Watch: Friday, May 29, 1998

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 45

Tour: 3 years

Badge # Lobo 11

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Rifle; Semi-automatic

Offender: Deceased

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Patrolman Dale Claxton was shot 18 times and killed after stopping a tanker truck that had been stolen. Before Patrolman Claxton exited his patrol car one of the three suspects in the vehicle opened fire on him with a fully automatic rifle, striking him 18 times.

The suspects then fled but were pursued by other officers. During an intense gun battle, two deputies from the Montezuma County Sheriff's Department were shot and wounded. The suspects stole another pickup truck before escaping into a canyon-filled portion of the state.

The National Guard and over 500 officers from four states assisted in the search for the suspects. One of the suspects was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head in early June 1998 after wounding a San Juan County sheriff's deputy. A second suspect's skeletal remains were found in November 1999. The third suspect's remains were found in Utah in June 2007.

Patrolman Claxton had served with the Cortez Police Department for 3 years. He is survived by his wife, four children, and a granddaughter, and is buried in Cortez Cemetery, Cortez, Montezuma County, Colorado.

One of his sons later became a police officer with the Cortez Police Department, and the badge number Lobo 11 was retired permanently.

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My brother Dale, may you rest in peace. You were that sheepdog and warrior. Thank you for protecting me and giving the final sacrifice to save others. May your family have shalom.

Chief Jim Spratlen
Durango Police Department
June 5, 2016


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