Treasury Agent Paul Read (1933)

Department: Bureau of Prohibition
Rank: Special Agent
Age: 34
Tour of Duty: 8 years
End of Watch: Friday, July 21, 1933
Cause of Death: Gunfire


Federal Prohibition Agent Paul A. Read was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a man for violating prohibition laws shortly before midnight on July 22, 1933.

Read had stopped to talk to C.W. Cates and discovered he was transporting moonshine in his vehicle, a violation of the Volstead Act. As Read tried to take him into custody Cates pulled out a revolver and fired on the unarmed agent five times, hitting Read in the hand and then a second time as he tried to run across the courthouse lawn.

Cates surrendered to a constable who prevented his escape. Shortly afterward he was taken to the jailhouse by the Sheriff. Read was rushed to the hospital, but tragically succumbed to his injuries a few hours later. He was unable to provide any details about what had transpired that night. Cates was convicted of first-degree murder and sent to the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge, Montana.

Officer Paul Read was renowned for his intelligence and honesty and was a valued member of the community who drew in hundreds of friends and acquaintances to honor his memory at his funeral service. He left behind Leona, his wife, and his three children Barbara Jean, Harry and Catherine.