Inspector Kenneth G. Ward

Inspector Kenneth G. Ward

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

End of Watch Thursday, May 24, 1979

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Kenneth G. Ward

Inspector Kenneth Ward was shot and killed at the United States Port of Entry in Lynden, Washington.

Two subjects had been sent inside the border station for secondary screening after showing signs of deception. Unbeknownst to Inspector Ward and the other inspector who was working, the two were members of a radical group associated with the Symbionese Liberation Army.

As Inspector Ward attempted to pat down the male subject he suddenly drew a .45 caliber handgun and shot Inspector Ward in the chest. The man then shot at the other inspector as both subjects fled to their car. A DEA agent who was inside of the border station heard the shots and was able to follow the vehicle as it fled.

The shooter and his wife, both 26, were arrested the following day just east of Lynden. The shooter had escaped from a California Prison where he was serving a sentence for the 1972 murders of an elderly couple. On September 19, 1979, the shooter was convicted of Inspector Ward's murder. On October 14, 1979, while awaiting to be sentenced he and six others attempted to escape from the King County Jail. One was shot and killed as the escape was stopped. The next day he was sentenced to life for Inspector Ward's murder plus 11 years for escape and assaulting a federal officer the day before. On December 3, 1979, his wife was convicted of being an accessory after the fact and sentenced to 15 years. Both were sent to Federal Prisons. As of 2022 the man is in Sacramento State Prison.

In 1987 the United States Congress authorized the naming of a Customs House after Inspector Ward.


  • Age 34
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Washington
  • Weapon Handgun; .45 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to life


Most Recent Reflection

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We called him Gerald when we were in school together. We lived 2 blocks away. He was always a standup guy who did the right thing ALWAYS. He wanted to go in the FBI but they told him not hiring now if he would go to border Patrol they would call him when an opening came.

mike melcher
boyhood friend

November 18, 2021

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