Carter is the Ranger who orchestrated the surrender of Angel Maturino Resendez, a suspected serial killer who was the subject of a nationwide manhunt until Carter slipped the cuffs on him Tuesday.
The surrender at the Ysleta international bridge in El Paso came after 1 1/2 days of negotiations in Albuquerque, N.M., with Maturino Resendez's sister. Officials credit Carter's relationship with Manuela Maturino as the break that led to the fugitive's capture.
"It was obtaining information about him and in setting up the interviews, and in talking with them and setting up things, they understood that I could be trusted, and I could trust them," Carter said in an interview with The Associated Press.
"That's what I love about this job," the 32-year-old lawman said. "You don't know what the next day is going to hold. It's a real neat adventure."
One former classmate at Bellaire High School in Houston said he's not surprised that Carter, a 1985 graduate, easily built a relationship with the suspect's relatives.
"He was always real talkative, a real good listener, very attentive and real interested in other people," said Craig Loewenstern, who works at a Houston software firm. "I'm sure that's part of his job, building up the trust, being a good listener and that probably helped that lady trust him with her brother."
Born in Luling, La., and raised in Houston, Carter rose through the ranks quickly after joining the Texas Department of Public Safety in 1988, becoming a lieutenant with the highway patrol in 1996. A year later, he was accepted into the Rangers, the investigative arm of the department.
Carter had long dreamed of donning the force's uniform white hat, silver badge and cowboy boots - even if it meant taking a demotion to sergeant, the entry rank for a Ranger.
"I wanted to be a Ranger since I was 5 years old. It's been a lifelong dream," said Carter. "I've pretty much always been a cowboy."
The Rangers were founded in 1823 when Texas leader Stephen F. Austin hired 10 gunmen to "range" his property and punish hostile Indians for attacks. The original Rangers got $1.25 a day and had to supply their own guns, horses and food.
The legend of the Rangers and their toughness grew during the Mexican War, as they fought alongside regular U.S. Army troops. The Rangers also captured or killed some of the Old West's most infamous outlaws, including train robber Sam Bass and gunslinger John Wesley Hardin, a preacher's son reputed to have killed 31 men. In the 1930s, a Texas Ranger tracked down and killed Bonnie and Clyde.
Today, the force has just 107 members and there are usually between 100 and 200 candidates for each opeing, said DPS spokesman Mike Cox.