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Hero Down: Tulsa County Deputy Santiago Rodriguez Dies After Medical Emergency

Tulsa, OK – Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) Deputy Santiago Rodriguez died on July 20 after suffering a medical emergency while off-duty.

The 40-year-old deputy’s exact cause of death was not immediately released.

The TCSO confirmed Deputy Rodriguez’s death in a press release later in the day.

“It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Tulsa County Deputy Santiago Rodriguez, who passed away unexpectedly this morning following a medical emergency that occurred while he was off duty,” the sheriff’s office said. “He will be greatly missed by all of his coworkers and friends here at the Sheriff’s Office.”

Deputy Rodriguez served the TCSO for more than 14 years.

He was assigned to the Tulsa County Courthouse and received multiple letters of commendation during his years of devoted service.

“He lived a career of service, not only to the citizens of Tulsa County, but also to his country, through his time as a member of the Navy Reserve,” the TCSO said.

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said Deputy Rodriguez always went out of his way to do more than was asked of him, KOTV reported.

“There’s many hours we were down here way late, and Deputy Rodriguez was the guy that was hanging out making sure that we get escorted out of the courtroom or escorted to our cars,” Kunzweiler said.

He could always be relied upon to help maintain a sense of calm at the courthouse, KOTV reported.

“I’d walk in. It was like, okay, Santiago’s here. Things are good,” the district attorney explained. “Whenever you came into contact with him, he just would set you at ease.”

“He was one of those people that taught a lot of things to me just by his presence and his kindness, and willingness to serve,” he added.

Kunzweiler said Deputy Rodriguez treated everyone with respect and equality, KOTV reported.

“His professionalism was one of those things that resonated with me as a prosecutor,” he said. “He was so polite to prisoners. He was so polite to the court staff. He was so polite to prosecutors and defense attorneys. He truly embodied what I think our criminal court process is all about is just show some fundamental fairness to everybody in the process.”

Deputy Rodriguez leaves behind his wife of 21 years, Gabriela, as well as his children, Derek, Alex, Genesis, and Jacelyn, and his granddaughter, Reyna, according to his obituary.

He is also survived by his mother and his three siblings.

Deputy Rodriguez was laid to rest on July 28.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Santiago Rodriguez, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


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