City Marshal Joseph L. Crixell

City Marshal Joseph L. Crixell

Brownsville Police Department, Texas

End of Watch Friday, August 9, 1912

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Joseph L. Crixell

City Marshal Joe Crixell was shot and killed by a Cameron County sheriff's deputy in retaliation of a grudge the men held.

In the early 1900s, the political and racial situation in Cameron County, and in the county seat of Brownsville, was volatile. The Democrats (Blues) controlled the county offices and were predominately white, and the Independents (Reds) controlled the Brownsville municipal offices and were predominately Hispanic.

At about 9:45 p.m., City Marshal Joe Crixell had finished his rounds of the city on horseback and had returned downtown to Elizabeth Street, between 12th and 13th Streets. He tied his horse outside a saloon owned by his brother. The sheriff's deputy, who was a former Texas Ranger, was seated in a chair a short distance away in front of the Club Saloon. As Marshal Crixell approached on the sidewalk, and when he was within five feet of the deputy, the man shot him six times with a .45 caliber automatic pistol.

Marshal Crixell died within 10 minutes without speaking. His pistol was still in its holster and had not been fired, and no words were exchanged between the men. Two Texas Rangers were nearby and arrested the deputy. The man was held without bail, but he gained a change of venue to Hallettsville in Lavaca County. He was acquitted of murder on November 11th, 1913, based on a self-defense argument that Marshal Crixell had previously threatened him. He remained a deputy sheriff until 1915 when he became a deputy sheriff in Duval County and then went on to become a deputy state game warden. On July 5th, 1925, he was involved in a shooting that resulted in his death, and that of Nueces County Precinct 1 Constable Carl M. Bisbee and Deputy Constable R.R. Bledsoe.

Marshal Crixell was survived by his wife and four children, three brothers, one sister, and his mother. He was buried in the Brownsville City Cemetery.


  • Age 41
  • Tour 2 years, 6 months
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .45 caliber
  • Offender Acquitted


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Nick mottola

August 9, 2020

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