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Joe Brannon Riddled by Bullets While Resisting Arrest -- He Fights to the Last.

Reported in The Galveston Daily News / June 4, 1886
Special to The News.

SAN ANTONIO, June 3. -- Joe Brannon, a noted desperado, was killed at 6 o'clock last evening on the Leon, fifteen miles north-west from this city. Brannon was wanted for complicity with Pitts in the robbery of the Double Home post office, in Burnet County. It was by this gang that Hal Gosling was killed. After his acts of lawlessness here Brannon escaped to Missouri, and while resisting arrest for some offense in that State he was riddled with bullets, but recovered and was released on bond.

Deputy Marshal Williams and Ed Van Piper heard last Monday that Brannon was expected to arrive in this county and would go to the ranch of his brother on the Leon. They therefore went to the ranch Monday night, and knowing the desperate character of the deceased let no one know of their presence in the neighborhood, but concealed themselves in the chaparral near the residence. Though the wait was long and tedious their patience was rewarded yesterday evening.

They discovered Brannon working in a field, and about the same time found his horse tied to a tree in the edge of a thicket. They took up a position in the bushes near the horse and directly afterward Brannon approached the animal, presumably for the purpose of taking him to water. The officers arose from their hiding place and called upon him to surrender. The demand was answered with a positive refusal from the desperado, who made a break for the cover of the thicket, and at the same time drew his revolver. The underbrush was so thick that Brannon easily concealed himself by lying down. Ed Van Ripley was peering into the brush, within six feet of Brannon, and the latter drew his revolver and fired, powder burning the officer's face. The fire was returned by Ed's brother with a Winchester, and the ball struck the desperado's right hand, taking away his forefinger, while he was in the act of firing again.

Brannon then rose and promiscuous firing followed, the officers closing in on him rapidly. After some dozen shots Brannon fell exhausted, from loss of blood, and the officers went to him, and on examination found he had been shot clear through the lungs and blood was spurting from the wound in large streams. The wounded man lived about an hour and died unrepentant, muttering curses.

He obstinately refused to enter into a conversation concerning the charges pending against him in this State and Missouri, and between gasps exclaimed: "I don't give a d--n! I had rather die than to give any of the gang away to be sent to the penitentiary."

Justice Boerner, of the Helotes precinct, held an inquest, and a verdict of justifiable killing while resisting arrest was rendered.

Brannon was about 24 years old, six feet high, and had an incipient moustache and chin whiskers. He had sworn never to be arrested again, and was always armed and on the lookout for officers.



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