Deputy U.S. Marshal R. W. "Dick" Townsend

Deputy U.S. Marshal R. W. "Dick" Townsend

United States Department of Justice - United States Marshals Service, U.S. Government

End of Watch Sunday, April 4, 1886

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R. W. "Dick" Townsend

Deputy U.S. Marshal Dick Townsend was shot and killed near Buttermilk Junction at the intersection of E. Morningside Street at Main Street in Forth Worth, Tarrant County, Texas.

On April 3, 1886, a group of law enforcement officers attempted to escort a train out of Fort Worth. The train was southbound, where four strikers were seen tampering with a track switch. Special Deputy Townsend and other law enforcement officers stopped the train to arrest the men. Several other strikers were seen with Winchester rifles, reclining in a gully. Deputy Jim “Longhair” Courtwright requested the riflemen lay down their weapons. They opened fire on the lawmen.

Deputy Townsend was guarding the prisoners when a rifle bullet struck him just above the heart. Two other Deputies were wounded in the initial gunfire from the strikers. The lawmen returned fire, but the strikers were out of pistol range. A mortally wounded Deputy Townsend emptied one pistol and crawled back to the cab of the train engine. Once in the cab of the train engine, Deputy Townsend turned his pistols over to the train fireman. Deputy Townsend died at 2:13 p.m. the next day, April 4, 1886. Shortly after the battle and amid the threat of escalating violence, Fort Worth's mayor and Sheriff requested two Companies of Texas Rangers or State Militia from the governor of Texas.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Townsend also served as a Special Deputy for the Tarrant County, Sheriff's Office.


  • Age 32
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Texas
  • Incident Date Saturday, April 3, 1886
  • Weapon Rifle; Winchester
  • Offender Not available


Most Recent Reflection

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Your heroism and service is honored today, the one hundred and twenty third 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 murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Rest In Peace

Phyllis Loya

Phyllis Loya

Phyllis Loya
mother of fallen officer Larry Lasat

April 3, 2009

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