Four Dead in Five Seconds gunfight

Here is what made the Wild West so wild: The Manning Brothers stole a heard of cattle, driving them down to El Paso to sell. Texas Ranger Ed Fitch took two Mexican farmhands with him and went to investigate, and in the process got the two men killed. A little while later a Mexican posse of 75 men showed up in El Paso looking for their two missing farmhands. After some asking about, they were led to a local ranch that held the bodies of the two. A gunfight was avoided – temporarily – as the matter went before a constable. Then the constable went to a bar, where street justice operated.

On this day, April 14, in 1881, at a bar in El Paso, a drunken confrontation between armed men involved in the trial resulted in the killing of three of them along with an innocent bystander.

John Hale, the owner of the ranch where the bodies were found, started the confrontation, grabbing the pistol of his friend and ex-City Marshal George Campbell, and shooting the constable Gus Krempkau. Hale hid behind a post just as Marshal Dallas Stoudenmire returned fire in his direction.¬†Stoudenmire missed, killing a Mexican bystander. Hale was killed with the second shot, while the wounded Krempkau then fired on Campbell. Krempkau succumbed to his wounds inside the saloon, while Campbell managed with his dying breath to stagger out into the dusty street, yelling “You s.o.b., you have murdered me!”