Sgt. Manuel H. Tapia, 41
End of Watch: January 8, 1991
Sgt. Tapia was shot at about 7 p.m. Jan. 7, 1991, in Nogales by a drug suspect. He died at about 1 a.m. Jan. 8, 1991, at Tucson Medical Center. The suspect, Noel Gonzales-Bernal of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, was fatally shot by a Nogales police officer. The incident occurred in Nogales, about a mile north of the border, after Tapia and the Nogales police officer stopped the suspect's Thunderbird. Upon asking the suspect to open the vehicle's trunk, the suspect fled on foot with Sgt. Tapia chasing him. The suspect then turned and shot Sgt. Tapia. The suspect was then shot. It was later learned that Sgt. Tapia was unarmed, having inadvertently left his weapon in his vehicle.
Twenty-nine Arizona Highway Patrol/Department of Public Safety officers gave their lives in the line of duty. These brave heroes and their families are in the hearts and minds of all who worked with them, of those who they follow in their footsteps and of the public whom they served.
Of the 29 deaths, eight were the result of murder, 17 were traffic related, two died in a helicopter crash, one died in a helicopter accident, and one killed when a train exploded.