Patrolman Dale Dewain Claxton

Patrolman Dale Dewain Claxton

Cortez Police Department, Colorado

End of Watch Friday, May 29, 1998

Add to My Heroes

Dale Dewain Claxton

Patrolman Dale Claxton was shot 18 times and killed after stopping a water truck that had been stolen.

He had located the vehicle on County Road 27 and stopped it at the McElmo Creek bridge. Before Patrolman Claxton exited his patrol car one of the three suspects in the vehicle opened fire on him with a fully automatic rifle, shooting 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 Office 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 Office 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 three years. He is survived by his wife, four children, and a granddaughter. He 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.


  • Age 45
  • Tour 3 years
  • Badge Lobo 11

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Rifle; Semi-automatic
  • Offender Deceased

stolen vehicle, traffic stop

Most Recent Reflection

View all 68 Reflections

Patrolman Claxton,
On today, the 25th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Cortez. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

May 29, 2023

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.