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Deputy Sheriff John D. Nelson | Kerr County Sheriff's Office, Texas Kerr County Sheriff's Office, Texas

Deputy Sheriff

John D. Nelson

Kerr County Sheriff's Office, Texas

End of Watch: Sunday, November 12, 1882

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 40

Tour: Not available

Badge # Not available

Military veteran

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Rifle; Winchester

Offender: Died in prison

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On Saturday night, November 11, 1882, Tom Baker was “cutting up” when he was confronted by Deputy Sheriff John D. Nelson. The deputy had recently testified against Baker in court, and “bad blood” existed between the two men. Baker insulted Nelson, and Nelson slapped him. Bystanders separated them. The next morning at 6:00 a.m. Deputy Sheriff Nelson was standing outside a store in downtown Kerrville when Baker walked to within 20 feet and shot the deputy through the left lung with a Winchester rifle. Nelson fell and Baker shot him again in the left arm. As Baker prepared to fire a third time, Nelson said, “you have killed me, don’t shoot any more.” The sheriff of Bandera County was in town for court, and despite being out of his jurisdiction, gave chase and fired three times at Baker from a long distance. Baker’s father rode up on a horse, dismounted, and gave his son the horse to escape. Deputy Nelson gave a dying statement and expired at 10:15 a.m. Baker was eventually arrested, convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He died in prison June 28, 1898.

Nelson had served in the Texas Light Artillery during the Civil War. He was a private in the Frontier Battalion of the Texas Rangers from 1874-1876. He was not married and his place of burial is not known at this time.

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Deputy Sheriff Nelson,
On today, the 133rd anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Kerr County.


United States Border Patrol
November 12, 2015


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