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

Patrolman

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

Incident Date: 5/29/1998

Weapon: Rifle; Semi-automatic

Suspect: 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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I never knew you but was involved with the massive manhunt that followed. All these years later, I remember how the citizen's of Cortez took us in as their own while we were in your city and made us feel like family. I remember stories told by friends/coworkers who knew you and the love they had for you. You, my friend, are a true Hero. Rest in Peace.

Sgt. Tim Lange
Page PD
November 30, 2014

 

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