Inspector Herff Alexander Carnes

Inspector Herff Alexander Carnes

United States Department of the Treasury - United States Customs Service, U.S. Government

End of Watch Sunday, December 4, 1932

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Herff Alexander Carnes

H. A. Carnes was a legendary lawman along the Texas-Mexico border. His brother, Texas Ranger Private Quirl Carnes, was shot and killed in the line of duty on July 31, 1910. His brother, A. B. Carnes, was sheriff of Wilson County, Texas from 1917 to 1937.

Carnes joined the Texas Rangers in 1903 and rose to the rank of sergeant. He resigned in 1911 and became a Mounted Inspector with the United States Customs Service. During his 29 years of policing the border he was involved in numerous gun battles.

Carnes and three other mounted inspectors received information from an informant of smugglers transporting illegal liquor across the Rio Grande River near Ysleta, about 13 miles down river from El Paso. The federal agents were concealed so well the 2 smugglers in the advance guard started walking between them, creating a dangerous cross fire situation. Carnes rose and ordered the smugglers to surrender. One smuggler fired at Carnes. The bullet hit Carnes' pistol and split into two pieces, entering his abdomen. Carnes and the other inspectors opened fire, but the smugglers escaped into Mexico.

Inspector Carnes was taken to a hospital in El Paso where he succumbed to his wounds three days later. He was survived by his wife and three children. He was buried in the Restlawn Cemetery in El Paso.


  • Age 53
  • Tour 21 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Texas
  • Incident Date Thursday, December 1, 1932
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Escaped into Mexico

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Rest in peace always and please know that no passage of time will ever erase your sacrifice.

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

July 31, 2020

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