Deputy Sheriff William Joyce Rainbolt

Deputy Sheriff William Joyce Rainbolt

Chaves County Sheriff's Department, New Mexico

End of Watch Friday, February 8, 1901

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William Joyce Rainbolt

Deputy William Rainbolt was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a man who was carrying a revolver at a dance in southwest Roswell.

It was not legal to carry guns in town. After ordering the man into the deputy's buggy to be taken to jail, the man's brother came out of the dance and tried to interfere. When Deputy Rainbolt refused to release the prisoner, the brother pulled out a revolver and opened fire, striking Deputy Rainbolt.

Both brothers fled the area and remained at large for two years. The brother who shot Deputy Rainbolt was finally arrested in North Dakota and returned to Chaves County to face charges of first-degree murder. He was originally convicted of third-degree murder but won a second trial on appeal. He was acquitted of first-degree murder during the second trial and was freed.

Deputy Rainbolt had served with the Chaves County Sheriff's Department for two years. He was survived by his wife and son.


  • Age 25
  • Tour 2 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; Revolver
  • Offender Acquitted

arrest attempt, weapons violation

Most Recent Reflection

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Deputy Sheriff Rainbolt,
On today, the 115th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Chaves County.


United States Border Patrol

February 8, 2016

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