Deputy Sheriff Juan Leo Ortiz

Deputy Sheriff Juan Leo Ortiz

San Miguel County Sheriff's Department, New Mexico

End of Watch Sunday, September 17, 1978

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Juan Leo Ortiz

Deputy Ortiz was shot and killed in retaliation for killing a suspect who pointed a gun at him three weeks earlier.

Deputy Ortiz was on patrol in the Santa Fe National Forest when he encountered several suspects who were harassing campers. When one of the men pointed a rifle at him he opened fire, killing the suspect. Three weeks later Deputy Ortiz was working on his ranch in Rociada, NM near Maestas Canyon when he was gunned down by a man with a rifle 200 yards away. The suspect fled and was never identified.

Deputy Ortiz was due to resign from the department the following day. He is survived by his wife, four children, his sister, and other family members.


  • Age 33
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge 16

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Rifle; .300 caliber
  • Offender Never apprehended


Most Recent Reflection

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Deputy Sheriff Ortiz,
On today, the 40th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of San Miguel County. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

September 17, 2018

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