Ranger Carlos Tafolla

Ranger Carlos Tafolla

Arizona Rangers, Arizona

End of Watch Tuesday, October 8, 1901

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Carlos Tafolla

Ranger Carlos Tafolla was shot and killed during a shootout along Reservation Creek near the Black River.

He was riding with a posse that was tracking the Bill Smith Gang. Ranger Tafolla and Deputy Sheriff Bill Maxwell of the Apache County Sheriff's Office were approaching the gang when one of the gang members asked how they should surrender. As the man approached them, he was dragging his rifle behind him but brought it up and shot Deputy Maxwell in the head, killing him instantly.

Ranger Tafolla was shot twice in the torso and died that night. The suspect fled to Argentina and was never apprehended.

As Ranger Tafolla was dying, he pulled out a silver dollar and asked that it be given to his wife as it, and his unpaid wages would be all that she would get. A two-year pension was later approved for her when the story was told.

Ranger Tafolla had been an Arizona Ranger for only six weeks. He was survived by his wife and three children.

He is buried in Saint Johns Catholic Cemetery, Saint Johns, Apache County, Arizona.


  • Age 36
  • Tour 1 month, 2 weeks
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Rifle; .303 caliber
  • Offender Fled the country

warrant service

Most Recent Reflection

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Sgt. Tafolla - You were the first Arizona Ranger to die in the line of duty. Please know this...

Your sacrifice was not wasted and your legacy lives on. Today, the primary responsibility of every Arizona Ranger is to preserve the rich history and legacy you, and the other original Rangers created. We are the ambassadors of your reputation. RIP brother.

Lt. Bill Nordbrock
Arizona Rangers

May 8, 2021

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