Prohibition Officer Gustavus James Simmons

Prohibition Officer Gustavus James Simmons

West Virginia Department of Prohibition, West Virginia

End of Watch Monday, July 11, 1927

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Gustavus James Simmons

Prohibition Officer Gus Simmons was shot and killed from ambush as he and three other state prohibition officers searched for a still in along the Jenny Branch of the Little White Oak Creek in Wyoming County.

As the raiding party made its way toward the still Officer Simmons was shot in the back from ambush. The shooters were able to flee the scene as the other officers sought cover and retreated to call for assistance.

Several members of one family were arrested and charged with his murder. Two were convicted and sentenced to life, while three others were acquitted.

Officer Simmons had given up a life of farming to become a prohibition officer after his son was given illegal liquor by moonshiners.


  • Age 41
  • Tour 7 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Rifle
  • Offender Sentenced to life


Most Recent Reflection

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Prohibition Officer Gustavis Simmons was my great-grandfather. I am Garland Simmons Jr. My father (Garland Simmons Sr.) was Earl Simmons’ son. He was born in 1934. A few years after Gustavis was killed. I am also a police officer. Thank you for your service and dedication. You obviously had a huge impact on your family.

SGT Garland Simmons

April 6, 2024

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