Deputy Sheriff Jose "Joe" Cisneros

Deputy Sheriff Jose "Joe" Cisneros

Solano County Sheriff's Department, California

End of Watch Sunday, August 25, 1985

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Jose "Joe" Cisneros

Deputy Sheriff Joe Cisneros was shot and killed while investigating a van without license plates parked off a rural county road. He was en route to back up another officer on a van littering call. He saw the van parked, backed up, on a farmer's access road off Cherry Glen Road and radioed that he was out at the van.

As Deputy Cisneros got out of his patrol car, a male suspect ran to the front of the van armed with a shotgun and tried to order Deputy Cisneros to drop his weapon. Deputy Cisneros saw that a second suspect had started the van and told the first suspect that his partner was going to run him over. While the first suspect looked back at the van, Deputy Cisneros tried to back up to his vehicle, but before he reached it, the first suspect shot him, killing him instantly.

Because other officers were in the area, Deputy Cisneros' body was found almost immediately. A pursuit ensued on Cherry Glen Road, with the suspects shooting out the tire of a California Highway Patrol officer's vehicle. After more agencies and the California Highway Patrol helicopter became involved in the pursuit, the suspects realized there was no escape, pulled into an orchard, and surrendered.

The van had been taken at gunpoint earlier in the day in San Pablo, California, but the dispatch center did not have that information. It is likely that because the notice had been issued during a shift change for the dispatch center, it was not heard.

The shooting suspect was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years to life imprisonment. The man committed suicide in 1997 while at Folsom Prison.

Deputy Cisneros was the original deputy who investigated a murder that would go unsolved for 42 years. With his investigative details and DNA evidence, the case was solved.

Deputy Cisneros had served with the Solano County Sheriff's Department for 14 years. He was survived by his wife, daughter, and brother.


  • Age 40
  • Tour 14 years
  • Badge 1L38

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Sentenced to life

suspicious vehicle

Most Recent Reflection

View all 21 Reflections

Dear Deputy Cisneros,
You would be amazed to learn that through modern DNA evidence, the person responsible for the Jane Doe murder in Dixon has been identified. The suspect is currently in Solano County Jail pending trial for her murder. Your wife told me you were troubled by this case and worked tirelessly even on your own time. Your persistence and professionalism has greatly assisted the District Attorney’s Office in this case. RIP Righteous One.

Sheriff Services Tech Marilyn Hodges
Solano County Sheriff’s Office, Retired

January 4, 2024

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