I am a volunteer researcher for the Texas Peace Officer Memorials and co-author of Texas Lawmen The Good and the Bad. I am interested in more info on this incident and what caused the shooting and whether the special deputies were ever tried.
On Sunday, 6 March 1938 Justice of the Peace A.P. Vera Jr. deputized five men to serve a warrant on former Starr County Deputy Sheriff Eulalio ELIZANDO on a charge of disturbing the peace at the town of Lagruilla, near Rio Grande City, on Saturday night, 5 March 1938. The deputies claimed that they observed ELIZANDO leaving Rio Grande City in a truck belonging to Jose CANTU, a former deputy constable, accompanied by CANTU and deputy sheriff Ramon de la CRUZ, so they followed the vehicle. The officers eventually overtook the truck and ordered the men to pull over and stop.
Someone opened fire. It is unclear if it was one of the deputies or one of the men in the truck that they had pulled over. In any case, when the smoke cleared the special deputies had killed ELIZANDO, de la CRUZ and CANTU.The five special deputies were arrested but it is unknown if they were ever charged with the killing.
ELIZANDO was to go on trial on Monday, 7 March 1938, at the town of Alice. He was charged with the murder of a man named David GOMEZ. GOMEZ was killed at Rio Grande City on Memorial Day in 1934. ELIZANDO had been tried once before for the murder of GOMEZ. That action had resulted in a conviction, sentence to twenty-five years, followed by a reversal for retrial.
CANTU was also scheduled to go to trial at Alice for his role in the killing of Pablo SALIS. SALIS was also murdered on Memorial Day 1934.
ELIZANDO was survived by his wife Creseucia SALIS. He was buried at La Grulla Cemetery in Rio Grande City.
de la CRUZ was survived by his wife Siveana Rivera. He was buried at the La Grulla Cemetery in Rio Grande City.
CANTUu was survived by his wife Preciliana (or Isabel VILLAREAL) and one child. He was buried at La Grulla Cemetery in Rio Grande City