Dalhart residents grateful to area law enforcement
By Robin Scott
The massive manhunt that got underway late Wednesday evening, October 14th, came to an abrupt end early Saturday morning, October 17th. Area law enforcement agencies began a search for Jose Abel Cancino who had been accused of fatally shooting his wife, Elva Perez Cancino.
The shooting that occurred just outside the couple’s apartment located at 7th Street and Peach Avenue took place at approximately 8:45 p.m. Wednesday. Witnesses saw Cancino flee the scene on foot, which lead to the area-wide search. Cancino, age 78, had been on the run since the shooting death of his wife, age 63. The shooting took place in front of two of the couple’s teenage grandchildren.
Early Saturday morning an employee for the City of Dalhart discovered the body of Cancino on a dirt road behind the Dalhart Police Department. Cancino, who was pronounced dead at the scene by Judge David Field, was found with what appeared to be the same .44 caliber handgun used in the shooting of his wife. Cancino also died from a gunshot wound, which officials believe was self-inflicted.
The nearly three-day ordeal led to great apprehension by Dalhart residents. The area schools were put on lock down on Thursday and many parents were concerned about their children’s safety and well-being. Law Enforcement officials involved in the investigation and search of Cancino took great strides to calm the mood in Dalhart. The searches were conducted with as little disruption as possible and the show of a police presence was evident throughout town and overhead from a DPS helicopter.
Dalhart Chief of Police Tom Sanford stated on Thursday, “We want to have a large show of law enforcement out there.” He also stated that the large show of police officers in the area would ease the tension that area residents were experiencing. The area’s appreciation for the around-the-clock efforts of the Dalhart Police Department, Dallam County Sheriff’s Office, Hartley County Sheriff’s Office, DPS Troopers, Texas Rangers and the Game Warden was notable from comments added to the Dalhart Texan’s Facebook page.
Hoyt Davis stated, “Our law enforcement personnel do an outstanding job, and don’t get paid for what they are worth.” Charlotte Howard added, “Our law enforcement did a wonderful job. They need an atta boy/girl award!” Michelle Pearce commented, “Thank you to all the police personnel who worked tirelessly to make sure our town remained safe. People need to know how hard the officers work on and off the clock for our families’ safety.”
Denise Baumert included the Dalhart Independent School District in her comments and stated, “I would like to thank all of those who went to such great lengths to keep this good town safe, knowing that they might not be. That includes the good law enforcement officers who went over and beyond normal duty to help keep us feeling and being safe. Also, I had not one worry knowing that our students were safe. When the school district learned about this situation that day at school, it was explained with tact and thoughtfulness.” Pasha Ritter added, “I would also like to thank DISD for protecting our children during the search. We should all be proud to know that we live in a community where we have officers and others that are here to honestly protect and serve.” Katrina Salas also commented, “Thank you to all law enforcement that have been out there searching. You keep us safe while putting your lives on the line. That is very honarable. You are all our hometown heroes!”