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.