Special Agent James Harris "Buck" Phillips

Special Agent James Harris "Buck" Phillips

Oregon-Washington Railroad and Navigation Company Police Department, Railroad Police

End of Watch Tuesday, June 14, 1921

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James Harris "Buck" Phillips

Special Agent Buck Phillips was shot and killed in Portland, Oregon while attempting to arrest several boxcar thieves.

The thieves had been boarding slow-moving trains in the Albina Yard and then throwing goods onto an adjacent road, where an accomplice in a truck would pick them up. Agent Phillips and his partner were patrolling opposite sides of a train when he encountered the thieves.

As he attempted to arrest them one of them opened fire, striking him three times. Despite being mortally wounded, he returned fire and wounded one of the men. The suspects were arrested several days later in Albina, Oregon, after an intensive search by local police, railroad police, and federal agents.

The suspect who shot Agent Phillips was sentenced to death and executed by hanging on August 24th, 1923.

Agent Phillips was survived by his wife, child, and mother. His brother, Deputy Robert Phillips, had also been shot and killed in the line of duty on November 18th, 1917, while serving with the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office.


  • Age 49
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Oregon
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Executed in 1923

arrest, larceny

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Agent Phillips,
On today, the 100th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice as a Law Enforcement Officer.


United States Border Patrol

June 14, 2021

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