Type of Officer: Railroad Special Agent
Death Date: 7/4/1920
Added to Memorial: 2002
Circumstances of Death: Gunshot
At 3:00 a.m. on July 4, 1920, Rock Island Railroad Special Agent Will C. Reed and his partner B. B. Collins received word that three men had broken into a freight car at Elbing, Kansas, stolen some cigarettes, and illegally boarded a freight train bound for Wichita. Agents Reed and Collins met the train when it arrived at the Wichita yards but did not immediately find the suspects. Agents Reed and Collins patrolled the railroad tracks in search of the men and soon saw the suspects emerge from a hiding place in the weeds. As the agents approached the men, one of the suspects pulled out a revolver and shot Agent Reed, killing him instantly. Agent Collins, unharmed, returned fire as the suspects fled across a field. The three men were found and arrested a few hours later. Special Agent Reed was forty-two years old at the time of his death. He was survived by his wife and two children.