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Constable Gus Krempkau | El Paso County Constable's Office - Precinct 1, Texas El Paso County Constable's Office - Precinct 1, Texas

Constable

Gus Krempkau

El Paso County Constable's Office - Precinct 1, Texas

End of Watch: Thursday, April 14, 1881

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 25

Tour: 4 months

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Handgun

Offender: George Campbell and John Hale

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A Texas Ranger and a group of armed cowboys from a Mexican ranch went to the El Paso County ranch of John Hale and found 3 stolen cattle. Two cowboys stayed behind to continue the search. On Sunday, April 14, 1881, 75 armed Mexican cowboys rode into El Paso looking for the two missing men. El Paso County Constable Gus Krempkau accompanied the Mexican cowboys in locating the bodies of the two men at the Hale ranch. Ranger Fitch arrested two of Hale’s cowboys who were bragging about killing the Mexicans.

The bodies were brought into town and an inquest was held. A large crowd gathered, including John Hale and his friends, and there was animosity among Anglos about the armed Mexicans being in the city. Constable Gus Krempkau was asked to interpret for the judge. At noon the judge decided to recess and let the crowd disperse.

Ex-El Paso City Marshal George W. Campbell confronted Constable Krempkau and accused him of favoring the Mexicans. John Hale approached Krempkau and shot him once in the chest. Krempaku slumped against a saloon door, but had strength enough left to pull his own gun.

El Paso City Marshal Dallas Stoudenmire came running toward John Hale. He fired a quick shot at Hale, but hit and killed a bystander instead. Both Krempkau and Stoudenmire now shot at Hale. One bullet hit Hale in the head killing him.

Campbell, who did not want a part in the fight, had pulled his own gun, and Constable Krempkau, who was dying, shot Campbell in the gun hand and foot. Stoudenmire shot Campbell in the body. Campbell dropped in the street and died the next day. Four men died from the shooting that last less than one minute.

Very little can be confirmed about Gus Krempkau. He was apparently appointed a county constable after a candidate failed to make bond after the November 1880 election. Contemporary accounts and the inquest record his name as Gus Krempkau, however, various other accounts and records have different spellings. He was probably from San Antonio, about age 25, a former Texas Ranger under Captain Baylor, and his father also served as a Texas Ranger in 1852-1853. He was apparently buried in El Paso, and perhaps reburied in San Antonio, but no records can be located for a grave site.

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Rest in Peace Gus, your story lives on and is re-told many times over here in El Paso. You will never be forgotten.

Officer Linda Goggin
Anthony Texas Police Dept
February 2, 2017

 

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