Investigator Wilford Thomasson was shot and killed along the Colorado River near Austin, Texas, after seizing a still and arresting two suspects.
State and federal liquor control agents had a 60-gallon whiskey still under surveillance. Around 6:15 p.m. Investigator Thomasson and other agents rowed a boat across the Colorado River near Mount Bonnell outside the Austin city limits and arrested two men. One of the agents was watching the prisoners while Investigator Thomasson and a state liquor inspector started searching the area in different directions.
Investigator Thomasson approached two men he located during the search. Investigator Thomasson reportedly said, How are you? He then said drop it as he saw one of the men draw a .38 caliber pistol. The man shot Investigator Thomasson in the hand with the first shot, and then shot him in the chest with the second shot. He fell to his knees and leaned against a sapling. He fired seven times and killed the man. Investigator Thomasson reportedly groaned, Oh Mitch get him, he got me.
The other agent saw gun flashes and heard someone scream out, but he could not investigate because he was guarding the prisoners. The state inspector also saw the gun flashes and began chasing a fleeing suspect later identified as a 15-year-old. Despite firing three shots at the fleeing suspect, the boy escaped in a boat. Officers made a sweep of the area and arrested more than a dozen people.
Investigator Thomasson had been stationed in Austin as a prohibition officer for more than four years, and after the repeal of prohibition, he served in the federal liquor tax enforcement unit. He was survived by his wife and 5-year-old daughter. He was buried in Memorial Park Cemetery in Austin, Texas.
Under a new law that made the death of federal agents in the line of duty a federal offense, three men were charged with murder and six others were charged with conspiracy. One of the men was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, but he appealed his case and got a new trial. He was again sentenced to life in prison.