Deputy Sheriff Louis A. "Slim" May

Deputy Sheriff Louis A. "Slim" May

Willacy County Sheriff's Office, Texas

End of Watch Sunday, September 5, 1926

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Louis A. "Slim" May

Deputy Sheriff Louis “Slim” May, Deputy Constable Leslie Eugene “Bill” Shaw, and four other lawmen were detailed to keep peace around Mexican dances. Between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, a shot was fired near where one of the dances had been. The six lawmen split up and went to investigate the shooting. They had not gone very far when one lawman told Mays and Shaw he saw a gun pointed them. Soon after the shooting started, Deputy Constable Shaw was shot between the eyes and died instantly. Deputy Sheriff May was shot in the heart and died. The other lawman was slightly wounded in the stomach.

Local officers theorized that the first shots were fired in order to lure the officers to their death for retaliation for previous arrest the officers had made. Sheriff Teller and his deputies rounded up 20-24 persons who were in and around the area and placed them in jail for questioning.

On Tuesday, September 7, the father of Jose Nuñez, (one of the suspects in the shooting) was allowed to talk with his son at the jail. Shortly afterwards, the father told the sheriff his son confessed and would assist in locating the weapons that were used to kill Mays and Shaw.

Later that afternoon, five deputies took Jose and Delancio Nuñez, Cinco Gonzalez, Matt Zaller, and Tomas Nuñez from the jail to a brushy area eight miles west of Raymondville, where Jose Nunez pointed out to the deputies where they would find the weapons. The deputies and prisoners entered into the brush, where the deputies alleged they were met with gunfire. The deputies allegedly ducked and return fire, killing all five prisoners in the crossfire.

The Nuñez Family made claims to the Mexican Consul General, that the body of Tomas Nuñez had been beheaded. The governor ordered the Texas Rangers to investigate the shooting of the prisoners at the request of the U.S. State Department. The beheading rumors later turned out to be false.

The Mexican Consul General also accused Sheriff Teller of letting a mob into the jail and taking the five prisoners out and shooting them. Later, a Willacy County Grand Jury investigated the case and indicted Sheriff Teller and others with the murders. The sheriff was tried in 1927 as an accessory to the murders and was acquitted.

The true motive for the death of two lawmen will never be known.

Louis May was just 20 years of age at the time of his death. He was survived by his parents, A.A. and Lois N. May and a sister, Josephine May. He was buried in Raymondville in Willacy County in close proximity to Deputy Constable Leslie Eugene Shaw. He was not married.


  • Age 20
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Unknown weapon
  • Offender five suspects 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)

September 5, 2020

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