Inspector Fred Tate

Inspector Fred Tate

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

End of Watch Saturday, August 31, 1918

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Fred Tate

Inspector Fred Tate was shot and killed while he and two other inspectors were patrolling for smugglers along the Rio Grande River in Brownsville, Cameron County, Texas.

A wagon containing 1,000 pounds of lard that was to be smuggled into Mexico across the Rio Grande River was being driven by two subjects. A smuggler from Mexico was driving a buggy that was preceding the wagon. As the headlights from the officers' vehicle shined on the wagon, the man in the buggy escaped into a pasture. By the time the car could be brought to a halt and turned around, the woman and the man had jumped from the seat and crawled through a fence, where they were joined by the driver of the buggy. The shot that killed Inspector Tate was fired as he stepped from the car to the ground, six or seven shots were then fired at the other officers, who returned that fire. The two men and the woman escaped in the darkness.

After unloading the illegal cargo from the wagon, the horses were turned loose and walked to a house near the freight depot. The Cameron County sheriff and his deputies surrounded the house. A buggy approached the house with a man and woman in it. When the officers stepped from hiding and ordered the couple to halt, the man who was driving the buggy fumbled towards his belt and a deputy shot and killed him. The woman was arrested and was charged with the murder of Inspector Tate. Several other men were later arrested and charged with conspiracy to smuggle contraband into the United States.

It is unknown whether the woman or anyone else was ever prosecuted for the murder.

Inspector Tate had served with the United States Customs Service for about 30 years. He had also served with the Texas Rangers and with the LaGrange Police Department. He was survived by his wife and three children. His body was shipped to Flatonia for burial.


  • Age 58
  • Tour 30 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Texas
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Shot and killed


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Rest in peace always knowing that no passage of time will ever erase your service and sacrifice.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

August 31, 2020

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