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Jose Abel Cancino remains at large

Posted by: tdt -

By Robin Scott

A massive manhunt got underway late Wednesday evening, October 14th.  Area law enforcement agencies began a search for a man accused of shooting his wife in the apartment they shared together then fleeing the scene on foot.  The incident occurred at approximately 8:45 p.m. and officers from the Dalhart Police Department quickly responded to the scene.  Sadly, they discovered that the woman was killed from a gunshot wound to the face.


Jose Abel Cancino, age 78, has been on the run since the shooting death of his wife, Elva Perez Cancino, age 63.  The couple resided at the Elmwood apartments located at 7th Street and Peach Avenue just next door to the carwash.  Two of the couple’s teenage grandchildren witnessed the shooting and called 911.  Officials have stated that Cancino used a .44 caliber handgun at close range in the shooting, killing Elva Perez Cancino immediately.


Early Thursday morning a command center was established at Rita Blanca Coliseum to coordinate the efforts of the numerous law enforcement agencies.  Officers from the Dalhart Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers, Dallam County Sheriff’s Office, Hartley County Sheriff’s Office and the Game Warden were present for a police briefing that began at approximately 9:30 a.m.  The parking lot at the coliseum was filled to near capacity with squad cars and trucks.  Dalhart Fire Chief Curtis Brown was also present and brought the officers a truckload of water for what they anticipated would be a long day.  Later in the day, the search and rescue dogs from the Dalhart Unit were brought into action and taken to the apartment complex where they began a search.

    Dalhart Chief of Police Tom Sanford provided an update on the situation, stating, “We are all here in an effort to flush Cancino out.  He has several family members that live in the area, and we believe that they may be hiding him.  We want to have a large show of law enforcement out there so that his family will know that he’s not getting out of town.”  Assisting in the manhunt are Helicopter officers with DPS flying overhead.  The sound of their copter has added to an already surreal day.  The duo flying the helicopter

began their search over Rita Blanca Lake and the canyon.  

Parents discovered that area schools were in “lock down,” meaning that the doors remained locked throughout the day with no free access.  DISD School Superintendent, David Foote, noted, “We feel like our children are safe, but we still want them to feel safe, so we have locked all of the doors at the Elementary and Intermediate Schools and at the XIT School.”  He further stated that at the Junior High and High Schools, “Everyone will need to enter through the main entrances, as all of the other doors will remain locked.”  The apartment complex where the shooting occurred was close to the Intermediate campus.

Most of the law enforcement officers

involved in securing the crime scene and in canvassing the area talking to witnesses and searching for Cancino worked around the clock without regard to their normal shifts.  They worked through the night Wednesday and right into Thursday without the benefit of sleep.  The rarity of a fatal shooting in Dalhart has the community on alert and apprehensive.  One woman noted however, “There seems to be a squad car at every corner, which makes me feel much better.”

    Anyone who has information about the whereabouts of Jose Abel Cancino is urged to contact the Dalhart Police Department at 244-5546 or Central Dispatch at 911.

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