Jail Break in New Mexico Leads to the Death of Two Cops


Hunt is on for the fugitive.

On April 28, 1881, in Lincoln County, New Mexico Territory, Deputy Sheriff James Bell was transporting death row inmate Henry McCarty to use the bathroom.  McCarty was handcuffed and leg shackled, but Bell was all alone in his duty.

As the Deputy and his charge were turning a corner, McCarty wheeled around and struck Bell with his cuffs.  As Bell was stunned, McCarty grabbed his gun and shot him in the back, killing him.  McCarty ran back to the Sheriff’s office, grabbed a shotgun, and proceeded to the second floor of the jailhouse. 

Another Deputy named Robert Olinger heard the shot and was running back from a restaurant across the street.  McCarty, leaning out a second story window called down to Deputy Olinger, “Look up, old boy, and see what you get.”  Olinger looked up and caught the full force of a shotgun blast, causing his death. 

McCarty freed himself from the shackles and fled.  His life on the run would last three months.  On July14, 1881 Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett caught up with McCarty and killed him with two shots from his revolver. 

The Sheriff had avenged the death of his two deputies.  Deputy Sheriff Bob Olinger was better known by his nickname, Pecos Bob.  Henry McCarty often went by the alias William Bonney, or more commonly, Billy the Kid.   

Christopher Flanagan


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