Special Prohibition Officer Samuel McDowell "Mack" Watts

Special Prohibition Officer Samuel McDowell "Mack" Watts

Virginia Department of Prohibition Enforcement, Virginia

End of Watch Wednesday, August 17, 1927

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Samuel McDowell "Mack" Watts

Special Prohibition Officer Mack Watts was shot and killed while he and several officers with the Buena Vista Police Department raided a still in Wilmoth Hollow, just south of Buena Vista in Rockbridge County.

As they walked up a trail toward the still site they encountered the operators, a father and son, and called out to them. The men started to flee and the son fired a shotgun toward the officers. Officer Watts was struck by the blast and suffered fatal wounds.

The two subjects were arrested a short time later. The man who shot Officer Watts was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. A friend of the man was convicted of being an accessory and sentenced to three years.

Officer Watts had served as a fee officer for the Virginia Department of Prohibition Enforcement for several years. He was survived by his wife, daughter, and two sons.


  • Age 38
  • Tour 3 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Sentenced to life

alcohol violation

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“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
Matthew 5:9

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Federal Air Marshal Service (Retired)

February 19, 2023

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