HSB will honor Ranger Guffey on Jan. 21

Texas Ranger Stanley Keith Guffey

            1946 ~ 1987

On Jan. 21 at 2 p.m., the Texas Ranger Association Foundation (TRAF), in conjunction with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the City of Horseshoe Bay are holding a ceremony commemorating the 30th anniversary since the death of Texas Ranger Stan Guffey who was killed in the line of duty while rescuing a two-year-old kidnapping victim in Horseshoe Bay.

Texas Ranger Chief Randy Prince will serve as the master of ceremony for the event. A Texas DPS honor Guard will post the colors and a granite marker honoring the sacrifice of Ranger Guffey will be unveiled which will stand in front of the Horseshoe Bay Police Department. Horseshoe Bay Mayor Steve Jordan will read a proclamation honoring Ranger Guffey and officially naming the Horseshoe Bay Patrol Boat as the police patrol vessel “Stan Guffey”. Police Chief Tony Hill of Perryton, Ranger Guffey’s home town, will present a proclamation from the Mayor of Perryton. A reception for those attending will be held at Horseshoe Bay Fire station 1 immediately following the ceremony.

Horseshoe Bay Police Chief Rocky Wardlow, himself a retired Texas Ranger, issued thanks to all of those who came together in order to recognize the sacrifice made by Ranger Guffey for the citizens of Horseshoe Bay. In addition, Chief Wardlow expressed his deepest gratitude to both local and out of town residents for their contributions, and to the TRAF, the City of Horseshoe Bay, the Horseshoe Bay Resort, and Bayside Market for their support of this event.

For those who may be unfamiliar with the tragic incident that occurred 30 years ago, the following is an overview of the events leading to that deadly encounter on January 22, 1987:

In January of 1987, Brent Albert Beeler, a parolee from Houston who was wanted for forgery, made his way to Horseshoe Bay, Texas. He kidnapped two year old Kara Leigh Whitehead, daughter of Bill and Leigh Whitehead, along with 22 year old Denise Johnson who was employed as the family maid. Beeler barricaded himself inside a house where he killed Johnson, and demanded $30,000 and a car to release Kara Leigh Whitehead. Determined not to allow Beeler to escape with the child, Texas Rangers Stan Guffey and John Aycock volunteered to hide in the back of the car with the rear seat removed.

When the car was delivered, Beeler placed the child in the front seat and threw a briefcase containing the money into the back seat area. In doing so, Beeler spotted Guffey who identified himself as a Texas Ranger and ordered Beeler to surrender. Beeler fired a handgun mortally wounding Ranger Guffey. Before he collapsed, Ranger Guffey fired a shot at Beeler, but it missed. Ranger Aycock returned fire at Beeler through the car window killing him. Aycock then quickly pulled Kara Leigh Whitehead to the rear of the car out of harm’s way before approaching Beeler.

Rangers Guffey and Aycock were later awarded the Texas Department of Public Safety Medal of Valor for their actions in saving the life of Kara Leigh Whitehead. The 70th Texas State Legislature later memorialized Stanley Keith Guffey with a resolution recognizing his sacrifice.

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