Sheriff William Wesley Dunlap

Sheriff William Wesley Dunlap

Montezuma County Sheriff's Office, Colorado

End of Watch Monday, July 15, 1935

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William Wesley Dunlap

Sheriff William Dunlap was shot and killed with his own weapon when he was overpowered by two prisoners and disarmed while transporting them to Cortez.

The two prisoners had been housed in the jail at Glenwood Springs for safety reasons. Sheriff Dunlap and a deputy were returning them to Cortez to attend an arraignment when one of the men reached over the seat, grabbed Sheriff Dunlap's service weapon, and shot him in the back. The two prisoners then disarmed the deputy before escaping in the sheriff's car.

Both prisoners were brothers responsible for the starvation death of an aged sheepman whom they had robbed, gagged, tied up, and then left to die in his cabin.

Both brothers were arrested and convicted of Sheriff Dunlap's murder. On February 14th, 1936, one of the brothers was executed in the gas chamber. The other was sentenced to two life terms.


  • Age Not available
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender One executed

murder suspect, prisoner custody, transport

Most Recent Reflection

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As the current Sheriff in Montezuma County, Colorado, and a Peace Officer here in southwest Colorado for 40 years, I learned about and have honored all who have made the ultimate sacrifice. After Sheriff Dunlap was killed, a plaque in his honor was mounted in a wall design in the Montezuma County Courthouse honoring his service, where the Sheriff's Office was once located. When I took office in 2015, I had the plaque removed and is now mounted for public display at the current location of the Montezuma County Sheriff's Office located at 730 East Driscoll Street in Cortez, Colorado, where it belongs for all who enter to view, know and remember.

Sheriff Steven D. Nowlin
Montezuma County Sheriff

May 18, 2017

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