Inspector John Henry Heard

Inspector John Henry Heard

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

End of Watch Monday, May 2, 1932

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John Henry Heard

Mounted Inspectors John Henry Heard and another inspector who was stationed in El Paso, Texas, drove to the Tom Boles Ranch about 60 miles south of Hatchita, New Mexico, to speak to the ranch owner about the illegal crossing of horses and cattle from Mexico.

A cowhand who had spent the night at the ranch house approached them with an automatic rifle as they stepped from their car.

The ranch's owner was standing in the yard as the cowhand asked "What are you doing here?" Before Inspector Heard could reply, the man shot him four times. Three bullets struck him in the chest and one bullet struck him in the side of his jaw. Inspector Heard fired twice at the man before collapsing, but neither bullet hit his assailant. The cowhand ran into the house where the owner's wife and other women were working and then dared the other inspector to fire at him.

The ranch owner and the other inspector took Inspector Heard to Hachita and placed him on the eastbound passenger train to El Paso. Inspector Heard died that night at the hospital in El Paso. Three posses were organized to search for the assailant who fled to Mexico. The disposition of the case against is not known.

Inspector Heard's body was shipped to his hometown of Pecos, Reeves County, Texas, for burial. The newspaper reported that had had served in the United States Customs Service for 10 years and had been stationed in El Paso for nine years. He was survived by his son.


  • Age 50
  • Tour 10 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location New Mexico
  • Weapon Rifle; Automatic
  • Offender Fled to Mexico


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Sir, you are remembered today.

Dede Hodge
CA citizen

May 6, 2013

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