Deputy Sheriff William Robert Hunter

Deputy Sheriff William Robert Hunter

Butte County Sheriff's Office, California

End of Watch Thursday, July 26, 2001

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William Robert Hunter

Deputy William Hunter and Lieutenant Estes 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.

Deputy Hunter had been employed with the Butte County Sheriff's Department for three years.


  • Age 26
  • Tour 3 years
  • Badge 81

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Also killed

Most Recent Reflection

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I recall when this incident happened. Working at the department and knew both of these men. I had probably known Larry Estes the longest, from his days as a deputy, and then climbing the ranks. A true asset to the the department. Seems Young Deputy Bill Hunter had only been there a short while. Both were amazing men in their own right and are sorely missed. The same goes for our Deputy Randy Jennings. It is still painful to see their pictures for me, I can only imagine the pain and aching in the hearts their families must feel daily. To these men, I am so sorry that you are gone, but in they hearts of many you are fondly remembered.

Vanessa Jones, CO, Retired
Butte County Jail

July 26, 2019

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