Election Results Lead to Sheriff’s Murder


Sheriff and Deputy ambushed

LaSalle County Texas was a tough place in 1886.  A sparsely populated county where the wild west was still alive and well.  Charles Brown McKinney was the elected Sheriff of LaSalle County.  He had won the position after a hard-fought political campaign against Bud Crenshaw.  Crenshaw was not Sheriff material, he was known to associate with members of the Alita Pen gang including one James McCoy.

After McKinney won his election, he made a point of going after the Alita Pen gang.  He was successful as many members of the gang were incarcerated or moved on to less hostile environs to conduct their criminal enterprises. 

But resentment festered.  In December of 1886, Bud Crenshaw and James McCoy hatched a plan to kill Sheriff McKinney.  They paid a Mexican woman money to make a rape allegation against a man who lived in the town of Twohig, Texas.  Twohig was well on its way to becoming a ghost town, a perfect place to plan a murder – no witnesses. 

Sheriff McKinney arrived in Twohig on December 26, 1886, along with Deputy Pete Edwards.  They were met by Bud Crenshaw and James McCoy and their two Winchester rifles.  The pair of murders approached the lawmen and McCoy asked for a chew of tobacco.  This was a signal for the men to open fire.


Crenshaw shot McKinney in the head, killing him instantly.  McCoy shot Pete Edwards in the back, but Edward’s horse bolted, and he managed to escape, seriously injured by still alive. 

As soon as Edwards related his story a posse was formed to go after the two killers.  Bud Crenshaw was killed in a shootout with Texas Rangers days later.  McCoy was captured and eventually found guilty.  He was hung for his crime. 

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