Sheriff William L. Rutherford

Sheriff William L. Rutherford

Otero County Sheriff's Office, New Mexico

End of Watch Tuesday, February 13, 1923

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William L. Rutherford

Sheriff William Rutherford was shot and killed while investigating two men who matched the description of prisoners who had just escaped from a neighboring county.

He approached the car and asked the men if he could search it. As the men tried to pull away the sheriff jumped on the running board. One of the men inside then shot him with a 30-30 rifle that had been stolen from the deputies in the previous escape.

The men were eventually apprehended and sentenced to death but later had their sentenced commuted and then pardoned by the Governor.

Sheriff Rutherford had only served with the Otero County Sheriff's Department for six weeks.


  • Age 40
  • Tour 1 month, 2 weeks
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Rifle; .30-.30
  • Offender Pardoned


Most Recent Reflection

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Sheriff Rutherford,
On today, the 100th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Otero County.


United States Border Patrol

February 13, 2023

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