Deputy Sheriff Dennis Earl Phelps

Deputy Sheriff Dennis Earl Phelps

Fresno County Sheriff's Office, California

End of Watch Monday, May 20, 2002

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Dennis Earl Phelps

Deputy Sheriff Dennis Phelps was shot and killed after stopping a vehicle at 11:45 pm that had been involved in a shooting 45 minutes earlier.

Radio contact was lost after he advised dispatch of the stop at the intersection of Highway 168 and Shepherd Avenue in Clovis. A responding deputy found Deputy Phelps on the ground, and his gun, badge, radio, and patrol car had been stolen by the suspect. Deputy Phelps was flown to a local hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.

Another deputy located the subject driving the patrol car and began to pursue it The man opened fire and shot out the responding deputy's windows.

The subject crashed the car and fled on foot. He remained at large during an extensive manhunt involving over 100 officers from eight agencies. On the third day of the search, the man fired at a department helicopter, striking its rotor blade. On May 25th, 2002, the man was shot and killed when he opened fire on officers after being surrounded in a trailer in the Prather area of Fresno County.

Deputy Phelps served with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office for 18 months and had served in law enforcement since the early 1980s. He had completed training as a patrol deputy one week prior to the shooting. He is survived by his wife, daughter, son, parents, and sister.


  • Age 47
  • Tour 5 years
  • Badge 445

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Sunday, May 19, 2002
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Shot and killed

traffic stop

Most Recent Reflection

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Uncle times like this, it makes me think of and miss you so much more. It’s been 18 years since you were taken from us. I pray you’re resting easy knowing the world has grown to love and support LEOs.


June 25, 2020

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