Deputy Sheriff Joshua Thomas Rutherford

Deputy Sheriff Joshua Thomas Rutherford

Blaine County Sheriff's Office, Montana

End of Watch Thursday, May 29, 2003

Add to My Heroes

Joshua Thomas Rutherford

Deputy Joshua Rutherford was shot and killed when he and another deputy responded to a domestic disturbance on U.S. Route 2 in Harlem, Montana.

Upon their arrival at the scene, the deputies encountered one of the subjects next to a motel. The subject was able to gain control of Deputy Rutherford's service weapon and opened fire on the deputies, killing Deputy Rutherford and wounding his partner. Deputy Rutherford was off duty at the time but had been called in to assist at the scene of the domestic disturbance.

The subject was apprehended following the shootings and was transferred to a jail in a neighboring county. The man was a registered violent offender. The suspect was convicted of deliberate homicide and attempted deliberate homicide on November 5, 2004. On December 9, 2005, he was sentenced to life without parole for Count I, Deliberate Homicide, for causing the death of Deputy Rutherford. He also received a consecutive sentence of life without parole for Count II, Attempted Deliberate Homicide, for attempting to kill Deputy Loren Janis. Furthermore, the defendant was declared a persistent felony offender and sentenced to an additional 100 years to run consecutive to the two life sentences.

Deputy Rutherford had served with the Blaine County Sheriff's Office for 4 years. He is survived by his wife, four young children, parents, three sisters, and two brothers.


  • Age 28
  • Tour 4 years
  • Badge 24-6

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Convicted

domestic, domestic violence

Most Recent Reflection

View all 483 Reflections

Deputy Rutherford,

I just had the honor of riding in the 2022 Police Unity Tour in your name. We traveled a couple hundred miles by bicycle from the 9/11 Ground Zero Memorial to the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington DC.

The trip was long, encompassed four days, with all sorts of weather and terrains. At times it was painful. And whenever I thought about the pain, I thought about you, and the sacrifice you made for all of us. You pushed me through to the end, and when I got to the memorial I searched for your name on the great big wall filled with so many other hero’s with stories just like yours.

I sat at the wall and said a prayer, stared at your name, and thought about you and your family while reflecting. It was a very humbling moment for me, and one I’ll never forget.

Thank you for your service Josh. I never met you, but I have learned a lot about you. Reading the reflections your family, friends, and supported have left you over these last two decades speaks volumes about you as a person.

It was a great honor to ride for you. I hung your name proudly from my bike every mile. I wrote to your department and requested a patch which will hang proudly in our trailer, so every year we ride, you will be represented.

If your family is reading this, please feel free to reach contact me, as I would love to personally thank you. My email is [email protected]

Thank you for your service Deputy Joshua Rutherford. You are not forgotten.

Sgt. Daniel Ceparano 66-210
Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office
Freehold, NJ

May 13, 2022

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.