Deputy Sheriff John M. Bailey

Deputy Sheriff John M. Bailey

Karnes County Sheriff's Department, Texas

End of Watch Tuesday, September 7, 1886

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John M. Bailey

Deputy Sheriff Jack Bailey was shot on Monday, September 6, 1886, and died on Tuesday, September 7, 1886. The shooting occurred at Daileyville, located in Karnes County. Also killed in the same incident, were Deputy Sheriff James J. “Bud” Elder and his brother, Sheriff Isham Lafayette “Fate” Elder. Local citizens Hiram and Henry Pullin were also killed and Deputy Sheriff V. O. Vivvy Barfield, William G. Butler, and Christopher P. Dailey along with the County Attorney F. R. Graves were wounded in the exchange of gunfire.

Shortly before noon on Monday, September 6, 1886, Sheriff Elder was sitting outside a polling place at Daileyville. Sheriff Elder observed Juan Coy and Epitacio Garza ride into town. Coy was wanted in connection for a murder that had occurred at Floresville in Wilson County. Coy and Garza dismounted; each took a Winchester Rifle his saddle scabbard. It was violation of the law for carrying firearms within one-half mile of a polling place by anyone except lawmen.

William G. Butler, a wealthy rancher, employed Coy and Garza. Butler and Elder had some “hard-feelings” between them. Butler believed Sheriff Elder assisted in the killing of his son, Emmett some 20 months earlier.

Coy and Garza begin firing at Sheriff Elder. The Sheriff drew his pistol and attempted to fire but his pistol misfired. Sykes C. Butler, 18, approached behind the Sheriff and fired a shot into the back of his head. Sheriff Elder fell to the floor dead.

Deputy Bud Elder was fired on by Coy and Garza and seriously wounded. Bud Elder wounded William Butler. An unknown person then walked up to Deputy Elder and shot him in the head, killing him instantly.

Deputy Jack Bailey realized the bad tactical situation he was in and ran for the cover in a yard near the store with his pistol in his hand. As Deputy Bailey was in the yard, someone shot him and he fell. As Deputy Bailey was laying face up on the ground, he was then shot 2 more times. Later it was determined that Deputy Bailey had never fire his gun. Bailey had been shot in the right leg, and his knee was shattered, so doctors had to amputate his leg. He died the following day of his wounds.

John M. “Jack” Bailey was married to Maggie Bailey and had a son, Edgar Bailey; and a daughter, Mary A. Bailey. At the time he was killed, he would have been 29 years of age. All three dead lawmen were buried at Helena Cemetery, but only Bud Elder's grave site can be located.


  • Age 31
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Monday, September 6, 1886
  • Weapon Unknown weapon
  • Offender Sykes Bulter

Most Recent Reflection

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No passage of time will ever erase your service and sacrifice and may you always rest in peace knowing that your fellow law enforcement will always remember and thank you.

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

September 6, 2020

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