Deputy Joel Wahlenmaier was hired as a Deputy Sheriff in June, 1998 and promoted to Deputy IV in September 2005. He was 49 years old and his current assignment was as a detective investigating homicides and other violent crimes.
Deputy Wahlenmaier was a graduate of Fresno High School. He attended Reedley College, Fresno City College and California State University, Fresno. He worked in various assignments throughout his career including Court Services, Property Detectives, was a Field Training Officer, a School Resource Officer and a member of the Search and Rescue Team.
Deputy Wahlenmaier leaves behind his wife, Bev, daughter, Amy 24, son Austin 21, and his parents, all of Fresno.
The "Joel Wahlenmaier Family Memorial Fund" has been established for those wishing to donate. Persons may send their contributions care of the Fresno Deputy Sheriff's Association, 1360 Van Ness Ave, Fresno CA, 93721.
Deputy Lancaster was killed when his unmarked vehicle was broadsided by a stolen car being pursued by a neighboring agency. Deputy Lancaster was pulling away from a stop sign when his vehicle was struck on the driver's side at 0009 hours. The suspect, who was wanted for kidnapping, was estimated to be driving at 90 mph at the time of the collision. The suspect was seriously injured and a pregnant female passenger was also killed.
Deputy Lancaster was working a crime pattern searching for burglary suspects and was not aware that the pursuit was occurring.
Deputy Lancaster had been with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office for two years and is survived by his wife.
Deputy Phelps was shot and killed after stopping a vehicle at 2345 hours that had been involved in a shooting 45 minutes earlier. Radio contact was lost after he advised dispatch of the stop on Highway 168 at Shepherd Street near Clovis, California. A responding deputy found Deputy Phelps on the ground, and his gun, badge, radio and patrol car had been stolen by the suspect. Another deputy located the suspect driving the patrol car and began to pursue the suspect, who opened fire, shooting out the responding officer's windows. The suspect crashed the car and fled on foot and remained at large during a large manhunt involving over 100 officers from eight agencies. On the third day of the search, the suspect fired at a department helicopter, striking it's rotor blade. On May 25, 2002, the suspect was shot and killed when he opened fire on officers after being surrounded in a trailer in the Prather area of Fresno County.
Deputy Phelps was flown to a local hospital where he succumbed to his wounds. He had been with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office for 18 months and had been in law enforcement since the early 1980s. He had only completed training as a patrol deputy one week prior to the shooting. He is survived by his wife, daughter, son, parents, and sister.
Deputy Telen was shot and killed investigating a burglary call at a local residence at approximately 1900 hours. Neighbors of the home had called deputies after they were confronted by a suspicious man who threatened them and then walked towards the house. Contact was made with relatives of the home's owner who stated the owners were out of town. When the deputies arrived they located an open window. They entered the house in an attempt to locate the suspect and as they entered a hallway the heavily armed suspect opened fire, fatally wounding Deputy Telen. The second deputy retreated and called for backup. Responding deputies where able to get Deputy Telen out of the home and transport him to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. The suspect was apprehended after a five-hour standoff.
Deputy Telen had been with the agency for 18 months and had also served three years with the Ontario, California, Police Department. He was survived by his expectant wife and two young daughters. Deputy Telen's son was born on October 1, 2001, and named after his father.
Deputy Isaac was killed in a single car accident. Deputy Isaac had radioed in that he was returning to the station to refuel his patrol car at approximately 0100 hours. After doing so his patrol car veered to the center of the road and struck a bridge guard rail and then veered back across the road a flipped over. A passing motorist alerted authorities of the accident. Deputy Isaac was removed by emergency crews and was flown to a local hospital where he underwent surgery. He succumbed to his injuries at 0500 hours.
Deputy Isaac had been with the agency for almost four years and was survived by his wife, son, and daughter. He also had a brother who later became a deputy with the agency.
Deputy Graves was killed when his patrol car was struck at the intersection of Shaw Street and Dickenson Street by a drunk driver who ran a stop sign. The suspect's wife was also killed the in accident. The suspect was sentenced to four years in jail for the two deaths.
Deputy Graves had been with the agency for three years and was survived by his wife and two daughters.
Deputy Hurst was killed when his patrol car was struck by a Pacific Railroad freight train at a rail crossing on Fowler Avenue. He was thrown from the vehicle and suffered severe injuries resulting in his death four days later.
Deputy Hurst was a US Army veteran. He had been in law enforcement for five years and had been with the sheriff's department for two years. He was survived by his wife and two daughters from a previous marriage.
Sergeant Bain was killed in an automobile accident when his patrol car struck a house at the intersection of Dayton Avenue and Blackstone Avenue.
Sergeant Blain was a WWII veteran. He had been in law enforcement for almost thirteen years and had been with sheriff's department for 11 years. He was survived by his wife and three daughters.
Deputy Collins succumbed to injuries received three years earlier when the car he was riding in was struck by a gasoline truck. He and the undersheriff were searching for a witness in an upcoming murder trial when the accident occurred. Deputy Collins suffered severe head and body injuries which lead to his death three years later.
Deputy Collins had been with the agency for 13 years and was survived by his wife and son, both of whom served with the agency as well.
Deputy O'Leary died as a result of rheumatism of the heart after becoming ill during the search for the murderer of Detective Frank Campbell and Sergeant John Brame, of the Fresno Police Department. At the time of the murders Deputy O'Leary was on sick leave with a case of the flu but refused to stay home and helped officers with the search for the killer. As a result he became even more ill which led to his death two months later.
Deputy O'Leary had been in law enforcement on and off for almost 20 years. He was survived by his wife, daughter, and two sons.
Deputy Price was stabbed in the throat after a prisoner overpowered him. Deputy Price had arrested the prisoner for stealing a buggy and a horse and had arrested him near Centerville, California. During the arrest the suspect attempted to shoot Deputy Price but his gun misfired several times and he was taken into custody. Because Deputy Price had no handcuffs he used rope to restrain the suspect.
During the ride back to town the suspect complained that he was hungry so they stopped to eat. When they were finished and began heading back to town Deputy Price did not restrain the suspect again. Deputy Price's body was found with a stab wound in the neck a short time later. The suspect fled the scene and was never apprehended. The suspect was also the prime suspect in the murder of Officer Harry Van Meter, of the Fresno Police Department, three weeks earlier.
Deputy Price had been in law enforcement for four years and had only been with the sheriff's department for two months. He was killed on this 32nd birthday. He was survived by his mother, brother, and sister.