Military officers became increasingly alarmed at the conduct of the Rangers and other law enforcement officers. After a brief resumption of a few raids in the spring of , the uprising associated with the Plan de San Diego ended. Saunders took custody of them. Thomas Hook, a local Anglo attorney, helped residents prepare a telegram to President Woodrow Wilson asking for federal intervention to safeguard their rights.
Soon thereafter, Saunders pistol-whipped Hook in a courthouse hallway. The entry of the United States into World War I brought changes to the Ranger force that heightened this kind of retaliation against the exercise of political rights by Mexican Americans. In South Texas, these loyalty Rangers participated in an unprecedented assault on Mexican-American voting rights.
In the election, for example, Rangers reduced the number of votes cast in Alice, Texas from some three hundred in an earlier primary to only sixty-five in the general election. The killings did not go uncontested. People of conscience took enormous risks to stop the violence and to expose it.
Brownsville lawyer and local historian Frank Cushman Pierce became disturbed by the wanton killing of innocent people in the summer of , as the wave of violence began to rise. He began keeping a list, which would come to include one hundred and two named victims by name, based almost entirely on his own investigations in southern Cameron County in and Pierce confronted one of the worse vigilantes, agricultural developer Lon Hill, and ensured that the Mexican consul had a copy of the list so that one day perhaps Hill would be charged for his crimes.
He never was; indeed, none of the perpetrators of this violence was ever brought to justice. Cameron County Deputy Sheriff W. Vann strenuously objected to Ranger and state authorities in and The most dramatic effort to hold authorities accountable came in early , in what became known as the Canales Hearings. His legislation eliminated the Loyalty Rangers, reduced the force to twenty-four men or eighty in an emergency declared by the governor , required Rangers to have experience as law officers, to demonstrate a record of good conduct and obedience to the law in their home counties, to post large bonds, and mandated that they were subject to dismissal if country authorities filed complaints of maltreatment of prisoners.
The Adjutant General of the Ranger force dismissed almost all Loyalty rangers and disbanded several companies of the regular Rangers. The transcripts of the hearings also served to document acts of violence and include them in state records. The transcripts reflected so poorly on the force that the state House of Representatives refuse to print them. This decade of violence left contradictory legacies for Mexicans and Mexican Americans.
Particular families bore their own scars. The violence had wider social resonances. It was key to the imposition of a Jim Crow style of segregation on those of Mexican descent, limiting their voting and relegating most to segregated neighborhoods and schools. On the other hand, it also catalyzed a Mexican-American Civil Rights movement. The course of the uprising convinced some key Mexican Americans in South Texas that revolutionary Mexican nationalism was a dead end, and that they were much better off seeking organizing themselves as American citizens with equal access to rights and protections under the U.
Scholars, writers and artists have grappled with these events for the last century. The protagonist of the story is torn between the Anglo and Mexican worlds. His father, killed by Rangers, wishes for his son to outgrow the hatred and fear that cost his life, but the humiliations of segregation makes this a difficult road to walk. And so the brutality and scale of the border violence of the s continues to attract the attention of the descendants of some of its victims and of scholars and artists who find it relevant a century later, in a nation still struggling over the meaning of its southern border and the rights of its Latino population.
Scholars of Mexican American history and local residents have known of these events for decades. This violent period has been captured in novels, film, music, poetry, and popular memory. It is time for the state and the wider public to recognize their scope and long legacy. Skip to content Some of the worst racial violence in United States history took place along the Mexico-Texas border from to The dead included women and men, the aged and the young, long-time residents and recent arrivals.
The true toll will never be known, though scholars from the s to the present have given estimates of from several hundred to five thousand killed. Towards the cataclysm Changes in both state governance and the border set the stage for the cataclysmic violence. The Role of the Rangers Texas Rangers played a key role in these atrocities. The State expanded the Ranger force, increasing the number of Rangers from seventy-three to more than one hundred and thirty.
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A new, more brutal white supremacy had come to the border. Voices of Conscienc e The killings did not go uncontested.
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To make the case for his bill, Canales filed nineteen charges against Rangers and their commanders. The killings were finally discussed in the public eye.
He finally earned his release in April after serving roughly five years on the assault that originally carried a four-year sentence. Police note that crime in Atwater Village seemed to increase sharply each time McGhee was released from prison. On October 17, while on parole , a bodyguard and two rap artists were shot near the gates of Echo Sounds music studio in Atwater Village after concluding a recording session. The crew was gathered on the studio's patio at PM when at least two gunmen confronted them and began shooting without warning.
Bodyguard Dwayne "Draws" Dupree 23 was killed, pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. On June 3, , rival gang member Ryan Gonzalez 16 was killed as he walked home from a party. The driver refused to stop and accelerated, both officers noting they were headed into the heart of Toonerville gang territory in Atwater Village. Baker and Langarica were aware that other LAPD officers had been ambushed in this area by gang members who would block the street with debris and open fire on police vehicles. During this pursuit, a year-old McGhee was allegedly using a police radio scanner to track the progress of the chase while coordinating an ambush.
During the pursuit, the officers dodged a washing machine blocking the road, made a right turn at the corner of Bemis Street and Brunswick Avenue, and ran over a bicycle pushed into their path by an unknown suspect. As the police vehicle swerved, two gang members opened fire on the officers striking the driver-side door and even tearing a hole through Officer Baker's pants.
Shaken but undeterred, the officers continued the pursuit even as suspects in the gray vehicle began to open fire, ramming the rear of the vehicle to bring it to a stop. The passenger in the front seat fled the scene pointing a semi-automatic pistol at the police. Baker rammed the vehicle again at which point the passenger in the back seat displayed an Uzi -style submachine gun.
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Officers ran for cover behind a tree exchanging gunfire with the remaining two suspects in the vehicle. Eventually backed up by other LAPD officers, all three robbery suspects were arrested and charged with attempted murder. McGhee was eventually convicted on two counts of attempted murder in relation to this incident. A homeless man David Lamont Martin 33 was also shot and killed at the scene, likely a witness to the shooting.
A year old McGhee was suspected in both murders. McGhee had been incarcerated for yet another parole violation involving narcotics, this time at the California Institution for Men in Chino , California, but was released in May The homicidal spree began on June 11, when McGhee was allegedly traveling through the affluent Los Feliz area that borders Atwater Village and features the popular Griffith Observatory. Manuel Apodaca, Jr.
Apodaca, allegedly a member of The Rascals gang , was killed and Guerrero suffered severe brain damage but their unborn baby was delivered successfully. Police state that McGhee, who had driven by and seen the stranger, ordered gang affiliates to kill the man because he did not recognize him. The homicidal order was carried out successfully. Atwater Village resident Cheri Wisotsky 46 had reported to police that McGhee was dealing drugs out of his sister's house nearby, allegedly.
On August 8, ,  Wisotsky was murdered as well as witnesses to the crime Mary Ann Wisotsky 64 , Cheri's mother, and Bryham Robinson 38 , friend and neighbor. McGhee is the alleged triggerman in the triple homicide. On November 8, , McGhee was allegedly prowling the streets with fellow gang member Eduardo "Limpy" Rodriguez seeking revenge over the death of a comrade hours earlier. Armed with handguns and assault rifles, they came upon rival gang member Duane Natividad in the block of Hollydale Drive, a mere six blocks south of the Gonzalez murder in Mendoza and Natividad had three children, Mark 5 , Justin 3 , and Nathan 1 , who were not with them at the time.
At AM, November 9, as Natividad pulled up to a residence, McGhee and Rodriguez allegedly pulled in front of them, exited their vehicle, and opened fire on the Montero without warning or any verbal altercation. As her boyfriend threw the car in reverse and accelerated away, Mendoza was hit multiple times and was driven to Glendale Memorial Hospital where she later died. Toonerville gang member Eduardo "Limpy" Rodriguez 22 was arrested the following day. Homicide detectives announced on November 27, that another suspect Timothy McGhee was still at large and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Detective Timothy Neel noted that since McGhee's release from prison six months prior, "violent crimes in the Atwater area have skyrocketed. He needed to retrieve his girlfriend's cellphone he had dropped at the scene of the Mendoza murder.
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Duran was unsuccessful in finding the cellphone, but police managed to locate it and used it as evidence in McGhee's eventual trial. Shortly after the murder, Duran admitted to police during a videotaped interview with LAPD homicide detectives that McGhee was involved in the death of Mendoza. Two days after speaking with police, Christina Duran was killed in an execution-style murder on the night she celebrated her 29th birthday party, shot On the right side of the head five times allegedly by McGhee.
McGhee wrote hip hop lyrics as a hobby but never seriously pursued music. Many of his lyrics referred to his love of killing and his hatred of the police. His writings actually detailed the Mendoza murder as well as other prior homicides. He took the time to write "everything in this book is a work of fiction" inside his spiral notebook in case it was ever seized by police.
This did not deter the prosecution in his eventual trial. In the fall of , a task force of as many as 60 local and federal investigators began searching for McGhee after linking him to numerous homicides. When it became clear that McGhee was running the Toonerville gang from out of state, the U. Marshals Service aided the LAPD forming a task force with more investigators, vehicles, and even aircraft. At this point, McGhee had only been officially charged with the Mendoza murder by the Los Angeles district attorney's office while U. Despite such a record of violence, McGhee had received surprisingly little attention from the national media before this point, with barely any coverage in Southern California.
In , there would have only been 11 individuals alive in the United States who had committed more than 12 homicides.
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On January 10, , the Los Angeles Times reported that a year-old McGhee was wanted for his role in a dozen homicides, perhaps the notoriety that drove McGhee to flee the state of California. He had already spent the last six months shifting between Atwater Village, Las Vegas , and Arizona , never staying in one place for more than a week. McGhee's father happened to own a business there, making the lead credible. On February 11, , a surveillance team in Bullhead City observed a man resembling the year old fugitive leaving the apartment in question, but conclusive identification was not possible in the dark.
The suspect was followed by investigators to a double-wide mobile home on nearby Brill Street but no arrest was made.
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Early February 12 after roughly 20 hours of surveillance, as authorities were preparing a search warrant and planning to raid the home with a SWAT team , U. McGhee surrendered without a struggle, refusing to speak. The suspect wore a T-shirt that read "Run. Throw a donut. The female driver was unaware of McGhee's true identity, nor did she have any suspicion that he was a wanted man.