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Inspector Thomas Sampson Morriss | United States Department of the Treasury - Customs Service, U.S. Government United States Department of the Treasury - Customs Service, U.S. Government

Inspector

Thomas Sampson Morriss

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

End of Watch: Sunday, December 23, 1928

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 40

Tour: Not available

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Location: Texas

Weapon: Handgun; .38 caliber

Offender: Not available

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About 5:00 a.m. U.S. Customs Inspector Tom Morriss and Inspector M.R. Rogers stopped an automobile carrying two men about four miles southwest of Fabens, El Paso County, Texas. The vehicle had crossed the boundary line near the Fabens “hole-in-the-wall” on San Elizario Island in the Rio Grande River.

The inspectors had the two men outside the vehicle and were about to handcuff them when one of the men asked Inspector Morriss if he could roll a cigarette, and Morriss said he could. The man pulled a .38 automatic pistol and shot Inspector Morriss three times in the abdomen. He then fired on Inspector Rogers. The bullet passed through his leather jacket, a sweater, and two shirts. Inspector Rogers was knocked backwards, but the bullet did not enter his shoulder. Both inspectors fired at the fleeing man as he escaped into Mexico. The driver was captured and charged with liquor violations. The disposition of any case against his murderer is unknown. Inspector Morriss was taken to the Masonic Hospital in El Paso. He was conscious and recognized his friends and only lost consciousness a short time before his death at 4:30 p.m. that afternoon.

U.S. Customs Chief Grover Webb and Inspector Morriss were attacked and wounded a short distance from where Morriss was fatally wounded when they stopped a car coming over the Lee Moore Bridge on May 19th, 1922. Both officers were shot through the jaw and their assailants escaped into Mexico.

One newspaper reported that Inspector Morriss was survived by his father, mother, and sister while another newspaper stated he was survived by his widowed mother. He was buried in the Masonic Section of the Concordia Cemetery in El Paso.

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Your heroism and service is honored today, the 83rd anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer who was murdered in the the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered.

Phyllis Loya
Mom of fallen California Officer Larry Lasater, Pittsburg PD, eow 4/24/05
December 23, 2011

 

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