At “the noon hour” on Friday, October 18, 1912, near a cannery in the small city of Winters, James Chapman noticed a man parading down the street brandishing a shotgun. He summoned City Marshal William P. Rice and another officer, Constable Andrews. The suspect, Jacinto Vaca, saw the men approach and retreated to his house. Chapman and Andrews circled around the back of the home while Marshal Rice approached Vaca on the front porch, assuring him that he only wanted to discuss the matter. Without warning Vaca fired at Rice, killing him instantly. Vaca reloaded and ran into the street where Chapman apprehended him, throwing him to the ground. Vaca was handcuffed and quickly taken to the city jail.
William Preston “Dick” Rice was 41 years old. He was survived by his wife, “one of the most popular and charming ladies of this vicinity” the former Miss Alice Chadwick. The two had one son who was 14 months old at the time of Rice’s death.