Forest Ranger Rudolf Emil Mellenthin

Forest Ranger Rudolf Emil Mellenthin

United States Department of Agriculture - Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations, U.S. Government

End of Watch Friday, August 23, 1918

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Rudolf Emil Mellenthin

Forest Ranger Rudolf Mellenthin was shot and killed when he and two San Juan County, Utah, deputies tried to arrest an Army deserter at Pine Bluff in the La Sal National Forest.

When the officers located the man at a campsite Ranger Mellenthin advised him he was under arrest. The man appeared to cooperate but suddenly raised his rifle and shot Ranger Mellenthin twice at a range of only five feet. A friend of the suspect also opened fire, striking Ranger Mellenthin once in the chest. Although mortally wounded, Ranger Mellenthin was able to return fire and wounded the suspect.

The two deputies went for backup and a large posse was sent to the site. The two men were apprehended and charged with murder in Grand County after receiving a change of venue. The original suspect was sentenced to life but paroled after only six years. The second suspect was convicted but later had his conviction overturned.

Ranger Mellenthin had served with the United States Forest Service for nine years and had previously served with the German army. He was survived by his wife and children and is buried in Grand Valley Cemetery, Moab, Utah.


  • Age 34
  • Tour 9 years
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Utah
  • Weapon Rifle
  • Offender Sentenced to life


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Rest in peace always knowing that your service and sacrifice will never, ever be forgotten by your law enforcement brethren.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

August 23, 2020

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