Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Sergeant Manuel Hurtado Tapia

Arizona Department of Public Safety, Arizona

End of Watch Tuesday, January 8, 1991

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Reflections for Sergeant Manuel Hurtado Tapia

Sgt. Tapia,
On today, the 26th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of the state of Arizona. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

January 8, 2017

I remember Manny from my early years in the Border Patrol. We would have coffee with Manny and Ernie Tofani at the Denny's restaurant before the start of our patrols. Manny was always a pleasant person and happy to shake your hand. I met Manny a number of times out in the field on I-19 or Highway 82 while on the job.

I have to tell you my story regarding my experience, because Manny's murder still haunts me to this day. I was patrolling I-19 in November of 1990, two months before Manny's death. I was with Jeff Short and we were sitting near the Palo Parado Exit when we observed a suspicious vehicle pass our location. I was driving and we stopped the vehicle near Tumacacori. Jeff stayed behind his passenger door while I walked up to the driver's side window of the suspicious vehicle. There were two persons on board, both Hispanic males and I asked them their status in the United States. They both claimed Mexican Citizenship and they gave me their Border Crossing Cards. I asked where they were going and they said they were going to an unknown address in Tubac. I asked if I could look in the trunk of the vehicle and the driver agreed to open the trunk of the car. I stepped towards the front of the vehicle to allow the driver to step out. As I shut the door behind the driver, I heard the passenger pop open his door. I peered inside through the driver's side window and asked him what was he doing, while the driver popped open the trunk at the same time. Suddenly the passenger burst out of the vehicle and ran towards the brush and the driver took off running with him at the same time. Jeff ran after them, but I called him back, because we had about 100 pounds of marijuana in the car and we couldn't leave it along the highway unattended. It was also getting dark and it wasn't safe for Jeff to pursue them alone. We called out the last observed location of the runners, their description and their direction of travel for other agents to converge on the area, hoping to catch them later. Jeff and I transported the car and marijuana back to the office and processed the marijuana. I did my report and remembered that I had the Border Crossing Cards of both subjects, the driver was Noel Bernal-Gonzalez.
On January 7th 1991, I was working the Midnight Shift and I was assigned to the Radio Room. At muster we were told of Manny's shooting and that he was taken to Tucson to undergo surgery. We were all in shock and individually prayed for Manny's recovery. Later that night at about 2:30 AM, I was alone in the Radio Room when a phone call came in to notify us that Manny had passed. I wept, and it took me about an hour to get myself together, when I put it out on the radio to our agents to let them know that Manny had passed away. Later that morning at about 7 AM, Joe Marrufo, our APAIC came into the radio room. He asked me if I knew Noel Bernal-Gonzalez, I thought about if for awhile and then I recalled the stop a couple of months earlier near Tumacacori. Joe told me that Bernal-Gonzalez was the person that shot Manny. The blood left my face and I was so stunned that I almost passed out. I also learned later that Bernal-Gonzalez had the same weapon with him when I stopped him in November and that the only reason he didn't shoot me was because Bernal was too far from the border and he was afraid that he would've been apprehended before making it back to Mexico.
I often play out that vehicle stop in my head. What if I did this, what if I did that? Would I have apprehended Bernal-Gonzalez before he could've hurt Manny or would I have been murdered instead? I still feel guilty for Manny's murder, I feel for his family that he's gone and couldn't be there for them. I feel bad for the Arizona DPS family for their loss too. I always feel like there was something that I could've done differently, but I'm not sure if there was anything I could've done. I hope that if Manny's family reads this that they know that I feel awful for their loss and I wish I could've done something different to prevent Manny's murder. I also hope that this doesn't open new wounds. This is just my way of dealing with my emotions from that night, my catharsis. I'm approaching my retirement from law enforcement, I feel fortunate to have made it this far. I guess I'm just going through the past 30 years in my head and trying to resolve emotional issues by writing them out. Forgive me for rambling. Vaya con Dios mi amigo. Sincerely, Jeff Pullig

Jeff Pullig
DEA Special Agent

November 15, 2016

I miss you dad.


December 19, 2015

He will be memorialized on the Stolen Lives Quilt, thanks to our partners, Remember 1986.

Maria Espinoza
Founder & National Director
The Remembrance Project

August 4, 2013

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
Matthew 5:9

Marshal Chris Di Gerolamo
Federal Air Marshal Service

January 26, 2013

22 years ago tonight sir you left this world, before I came into it...I know it's because of sacrifices that courageous men like yourself make that I was able to grow up in a safe world...God bless you and your family on the 22nd anniversary of your EOW!

private citizen

January 8, 2013

My father knew you well and remembers you every year on the anniversary of your death. Your memory will live on and you will always be remembered.

Rebecca Castillo
Daughter of retired DPS Officer Raul Castillo

January 13, 2012

Your heroism and service is honored today, the twenty-first anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Your memory will always be honored and revered. I pray for aolace for all those who love and remember you for I know both the pain and pride are forever.

Rest In Peace

Phyllis Loya
Mom of fallen California Officer Larry Lasater, Pittsburg PD, eow 4/24/05

January 8, 2012


Pat Van Den Berghe, Manchester, NH
Neighbors for a Better Manchester, NH

January 2, 2008

"The Badge"
He starts his shift each day
To respond to calls unknown.
He drives a marked patrol car.
A police officer he is known.
He's paid by the citizens' taxes
To make it safe on the streets.
But he usually has a second job
'Cause a waitress has his salary beat.
Now he doesn't know a holiday
'Cause he works all year round.
And when Thanksgiving and Christmas finally arrive
At his home he cannot be found.
He's cursed and assaulted often,
The one whos blood runs blue.
He seldom ever gets a thanks,
To some he's just a fool.
His friends are always other cops
'Cause people just don't understand
That underneath his badge and gun,
He's just another man.
He knows there might not be a tomorrow
In this world of drugs and crime.
And he gets so mad at the court system
'Cause the crooks don't get any time.
And each day when he leaves for work,
He prays to God above.
Please bring me home after my shift
So I can see the ones I love.
But tonight he stops a speeding car,
He's alone down this ole' highway.
It's just a little traffic infraction.
He does it everyday.
Well, he walks up to the driver's window,
And his badge is shining bright.
He asked the guy for a driver's license,
When a shot rang through the night.
Yes, the bullet hit its mark,
Striking the officer in the chest.
But the Department's budget didn't buy
Each officer a bullet-proof vest.
So he lay on the ground bleeding.
His blood wasn't blue - His blood was red.
And briefly he thought of his loved ones
'Cause in a moment the officer was dead.
In the news they told the story
Of how this officer had died.
And some who listened cared less,
But those who loved him cried.
Well, they buried him in uniform
With his badge pinned on his chest.
He even had his revolver,
He died doing his best.
Written By:
David L. Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Department
Columbia, South Carolina
Used with Special Permission of the Author
Copyright © 1999 - All Rights Reserved
and may not be duplicated without permission

Investigator David L Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Dept., Columbia, SC

July 25, 2007

Rest in Peace, Sergeant Tapia. Your sacrifice is not forgotten.

Officer 11169

March 14, 2007

Manny, we serve in your memory. Keep your hand over us as we continue.

Narcotics Sergeant

November 21, 2005

Manny and I go back to our High School years.
He went to school in Bowie and I went to School in San Simon, and we played sports against each other.
He was then as he was as a police officer a true competitor and very effective at what he did.
He became a police officer first and I followed a few years later.
Through all the years that I knew him he was a professional and he loved what he was doing and making a difference in this world.
The law enforcement community lost a true and pure warrior the day that he left us.
He will always be a hero in my eyes.

Retired police officer

May 6, 2004

May god bless you and keep you forever safe.
Rest easy Blue Angel...your work here is done. Watch over us from above...until we see you again.

Cleveland Police, Retired Ohio

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