Lieutenant Leonard Bruce Estes

Lieutenant Leonard Bruce Estes

Butte County Sheriff's Office, California

End of Watch Thursday, July 26, 2001

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Leonard Bruce Estes

Lieutenant Leonard Estes and Deputy William Hunter were shot and killed after responding to a call involving one neighbor threatening another.

As Deputy Hunter responded to the scene, the original reporting party called back and stated that the suspect had stolen a firearm. Deputy Hunter then requested backup, and Lieutenant Estes, who was in the area, volunteered and responded to the scene, arriving 19 minutes after Deputy Hunter.

Deputy Hunter entered the cabin, where he was ambushed by the suspect as he walked around the corner just inside the front door. The suspect shot him in the head, fatally wounding him. When Lieutenant Estes entered the cabin, he exchanged shots with the suspect at a range of three feet. Lieutenant Estes' weapon was found with one round remaining and had been jammed when it was struck by one of the suspect's rounds. The exchange of gunfire between Lieutenant Estes and the suspect left both men fatally wounded.

When dispatch was unable to reach either officer, additional units were sent by the California Highway Patrol. When they arrived, they located both cruisers parked in front of the small cabin. The sheriff's department's SWAT team was then called out. After firing tear gas, entry was made into the home where the bodies of Deputy Hunter, Lieutenant Estes, and the suspect were located. The suspect was described as a survivalist who was often seen carrying weapons.

Lieutenant Estes had been employed with the Butte County Sheriff's Department for 30 years. He is survived by his wife, daughter, and two sons.


  • Age 61
  • Tour 30 years
  • Badge L-3

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Shot and killed

Back up for fellow officer(s), disturbance, stolen weapon, weapons violation

Most Recent Reflection

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It's that time of year again when you and Bill come to the forefront of my memory. You two are always in my thoughts, just more so each July.

Deputy M. Huber
Butte County Sheriff's Office

July 4, 2023

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