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Inspector Fred Tate | United States Department of the Treasury - Customs Service, U.S. Government United States Department of the Treasury - Customs Service, U.S. Government

Inspector

Fred Tate

United States Department of the Treasury - Customs Service, U.S. Government

End of Watch: Saturday, August 31, 1918

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 58

Tour: 30 years

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Location: Texas

Weapon: Gun; Unknown type

Offender: Not available

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U.S. Customs Officers Fred Tate, Clint Adkins and Will Neale were in an automobile patrolling for smugglers along the Rio Grande River in Brownsville, Cameron County, Texas.

A wagon containing 1,000 pounds of lard that was to be smuggled into Mexico across the Rio Grande River was being driven by Paulino Alvarez and Emelia Parra. A smuggler from Mexico was driving a buggy that was preceding the wagon. As the headlights from the officers’ vehicle shined on the wagon, the man in the buggy escaped into a pasture. By the time the car could be brought to a halt and turned around, the woman and the man had jumped from the seat and crawled through a fence, where they were joined by the driver of the buggy. The shot that killed Officer Tate was fired as the officer stepped from the car to the ground, six or seven shots were then fired at the other officers, who returned that fire. The two men and the woman escaped in the darkness.

After unloading the illegal cargo from the wagon, the horses were turned loose and walked to a house near the freight depot. Cameron County Sheriff W. T. Vann and deputies surrounded the house. A buggy approached the house with a man and woman in it. When the officers stepped from hiding and ordered the couple to halt, Paulino Alvarez, who was driving the buggy in which they were riding, fumbled towards his belt and a deputy shot and killed him. Emelia Parra was arrested and was charged with the murder of Fred Tate. Several other men were later arrested and charged with conspiracy to smuggle contraband into the United States. It is unknown at this time whether Parra or anyone else was ever prosecuted for the murder.

Tate's body was shipped to Flatonia for burial. His place of burial has not been located. He was survived by his wife and three children. Tate was a veteran of the U.S. Customs Service with probably 30 years of service. He was also a special Texas ranger from April 25, 1917 and until December 1917. He had also been a city policeman in La Grange, Fayette County, Texas.

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I am Inspector Fred Tate's great, great son-in-law and couldn't be more proud to be a member of his family. Thank you to all who serve our great state!

Jimmy Boyle
Family
June 22, 2017

 

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