On the night of August 14, 1891, Toribio Pastrano, a 35-year-old Presidio County deputy sheriff strode into a Mexican fandango in search of an elusive outlaw named Antonio Carrasco. Pastrano reportedly had evidence that linked Carrasco with the murder of Texas Ranger Charles Fusselman in El Paso County the year before. Though other Texas lawmen had already attributed Fusselman’s slaying to a gang of cutthroats who operated out of the swampy thickets along the Rio Grande near El Paso, Pastrano was determined to bring in Carrasco, all the same.
According to the Austin Weekly Statesman, as Pastrano made his way through the couples who waltzed to the “tinkling of guitars,” he spotted his quarry at the far end of the room. If newspaper reports are to be believed, Carrasco would have been a hard man to miss in any crowd. “He was dressed from head to foot in snow-white duck and around his waist was a broad red sash, from which protruded the handle of a revolver,” the Statesman reported.
As a man who lived most of his life on the dodge, Carrasco knew a lawman when he saw one and he eyed Pastrano carefully as the officer approached. He called out to him, “My friend, you are an officer, and wish to arrest me. Very well.” Then, before Pastrano even had a chance to respond, C