Deputy Sheriff Robert William Varner, Jr.

Deputy Sheriff Robert William Varner, Jr.

Navajo County Sheriff's Office, Arizona

End of Watch Monday, January 2, 1989

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Robert William Varner, Jr.

Deputy Robert Varner was shot and killed after stopping a stolen vehicle with stolen tags on I-40.

When the vehicle stopped, the passenger exited the car and opened fire with a sub-machine gun, striking Deputy Varner several times.

The suspects split up and the shooter committed suicide before officers could apprehend him. The driver of the vehicle was apprehended and sentenced to thirteen years.

Deputy Varner had been a member of the Navajo County Sheriff's Department for one year, after retiring from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, with 24 years of service. He is survived by his wife, son, and two daughters.


  • Age 51
  • Tour 26 years
  • Badge 48
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Saturday, December 31, 1988
  • Weapon Handgun; Mac-11
  • Offender Committed suicide

Most Recent Reflection

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Robert and Joan (Daughter) as you know by now your wife and mother Cathy passed on Oct 30th, you three can now catch up and be free of worldly troubles. I remember when you were shot, I was a troubled high school kid and eventually went on to serve as a LEO, inspired in part by your service and how your death affected the Winslow community. The world needs more people like the Varners. Godspeed.

Retired LE

November 2, 2019

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