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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Our History

Lamar W. York

Name:  Lamar Watson York

Date of Birth: 1895

Date of Death: 04/12/1930

Location of Death: Washington, DC




Prohibition Agent Lamar York left the Treasury Department garage in Washington, DC, at about 1:00 a.m.  He soon observed a suspicious car and when he attempted to stop it, a chase ensued.  Agent York followed the car into Brooks Court, NW and two male occupants jumped out and ran off.  A crowd quickly gathered around the vehicle. During an inspection of the vehicle, Agent York did not locate any liquor, but did find that the vehicle was equipped with a "smoke screen," a device often used by bootleggers to evade capture when hauling liquor.

Agent York enlisted the aid of a passer-by and asked him to go and summon the police.  Sometime thereafter, but before the police arrived, the two suspects returned to the scene, shot and killed Agent York and left in their car. A massive investigation by Prohibition Agents and police led to the identity and arrest of three suspects:  John Logan, Johnnie Borum and Martin Guy.

All three men were subsequently convicted of the murder of Agent York and sentenced to be electrocuted.  The conviction of Martin Guy was later overturned on appeal due to a lack of sufficient evidence showing his actual involvement in the murder. According to one news account of the day, Borum had attempted to offer Agent York a bribe to release the car, but when he refused, Borum killed him.


Agent York joined the Bureau of Prohibition on 10/24/1927, with an annual salary of $1,860.


Agent York was born in Tennessee.  He was survived by his wife, Helen.