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Town Marshal Henry D. Humphrey | Alma Police Department, Arkansas Alma Police Department, Arkansas

Town Marshal

Henry D. Humphrey

Alma Police Department, Arkansas

End of Watch: Monday, June 26, 1933

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 51

Tour: 2 months

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Incident Date: 6/23/1933

Weapon: Gun; Unknown type

Suspect: Both shot and killed

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Marshal Henry Humphrey was shot and killed by the notorious outlaw gang led by Bonnie and Clyde.

Marshal Humphrey was working the night shift and in the early morning house of June 22, 1933, two men captured Marshal Humphrey as he was making his rounds outside the Commercial Bank building in downtown Alma. They bound Marshal Humphrey with baling wire, stole his flashlight and pistol, and broke into the bank where they went to work securing the bank safe. Law enforcement didn’t realize until later that it was the Barrows that stole the safe.

The next day, June 23, 1933 Marshal Humphrey got a call from his office alerting him that there had been an accident on the old highway going through Alma. He was given the license number and was notified of another robbery in Fort Smith at Brown’s Grocery, and a car theft. Crawford County Deputy Sheriff Ansel “Red” Salyers, a friend of Marshal Humphrey’s, offered to go with him. Due to the urgency, they took Deputy Salyers’ car.

As the Marshal and Deputy Salyers drove north on Highway 71, they passed a slower-moving blue Chevy truck driving south; seconds later a Ford Sedan sped by them, also going south. The Sedan disappeared over a hill and the officers heard a loud crash as the Sedan rammed into the back of the Chevy truck. Marshal Humphrey quickly turned around and rushed to the accident. He then realized the Sedan was the car they were looking for - it was Buck Barrow and W.D. Jones, who had robbed the store and stolen the Sedan. The gang quickly recovered from their crash and grabbed their guns as Deputy Salyers’ car approached and blocked the road.

Marshal Humphrey drew the Smith & Wesson .38 revolver he had borrowed from his brother-in-law, as his weapon had been stolen the day before, and as he appeared out the door of the vehicle, Buck Barrow shot him full in the chest with buckshot and he fell into the ditch. Two or three minutes of gunfire erupted between Deputy Salyers and the suspects before Buck’s shotgun jammed or was empty.

Deputy Salyers took this opportunity to find cover and ran toward a house nearly one hundred yards to the west of the scene. The second suspect fired at him but missed, although bullets passed through the house and barn and nearly hit a man working in a nearby strawberry field.

As Deputy Salyers re-loaded, Buck and W.D. ran to the Deputy’s car where Marshal Humphreys was still laying, grabbed the wounded Marshal’s gun and drove away. The Marshal was taken to the hospital and on June 26, 1933 he died after having only been with the agency two months.

The two criminals were finally shot and killed in Louisiana when Texas and Louisiana task forces ambushed them.

Marshal Humphrey had been with the agency for only two months and was survived by his wife and three children. He is buried in Alma City Cemetery, Alma, Arkansas. The City Complex Building in Alma has erected a plaque commemorating the Marshal for his service and sacrifice.

The Bonnie and Clyde Gang was responsible for the murder of law enforcement officers in four states - Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas - between 1932 and 1934. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow started their criminal career by robbing banks and quickly became notorious murderers wanted for the murders of nine law enforcement officers.

The two criminals were finally shot and killed in Louisiana when they were ambushed by a task force of Texas and Louisiana officers.

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Most Recent Reflection

I'm retired from the LAPD and just recently read the stories about Bonnie and Clyde. When I worked on the Los Angeles Police Dept in the Van Nuys area, a very good Policeman worked for me by the name of Neil Humphrey. He was from Russelville, Arkansas. He passed awhile back. Neil was one of those policemen who always seemed to be where the action was and caught a lot of criminals. He was a great cop. Since I retired to Mountain View, AR I have always been interested in all things Arkansas. I'll bet Neil was kin to Marshall Humphrey. The Humphrey's did their duty and my hats off to both of them. Law enforcement must have been in the Humphrey Blood.

Sgt, Curtis R. Feslerm LAPD Retired
Retired and now fishing.
December 26, 2013

 

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