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Ward, Inspector Kenneth G.

End of Watch: 
Thursday, May 24, 1979
County: 
Whatcom
Agency: 
U.S. Customs Service

On Thursday, May 24, 1979 at about 2030 hours, Artie Ray Baker and a companion, Marie Ferreboeuf, arrived at the United States Port of Entry at Lynden in Whatcom County driving a 1974 Chevrolet Vega bearing California plates.  U.S. Customs Service Inspector Jerry Ward was doing secondary screening inside the border station while Inspector Gaylan Reimer worked outside screening vehicles.  While questioning Baker and Ferreboeuf, Inspector Reimer found it odd that the two claimed to have been in Canada for three days, but had no luggage and neither of them were the registered owner of the car.  Inspector Reimer collected their identification and escorted the two into the station for additional screening.  After leaving the two with Inspector Ward, Inspector Reimer began searching the car.

The two inspectors were the only two officers working at the border crossing.

Both inspectors had no idea that Baker had escaped from the Deuel Vocational Institute in Tracy, California in 1977 where he was serving a life sentence for the 1972 robbery and murder of an elderly couple in Fresno.  After the escape, Baker was using the alias Michael Joseph Arrington.  Baker identified himself to Inspector Reimer as Arrington using a California Driver's License.

After the escape, Baker had been hiding out with the Wellspring Communion, a group of militant radicals and an offshoot of the Symbionese Liberation Army.  While there, he met Ferreboeuf.  In 1979, Baker and Ferreboeuf were having philosophical differences with many of the others inside the commune, so they went to Canada to scope out land as a base for their own army of radicals.

Inside the border station, Inspector Ward took the two identifications behind the counter to the Teletype.  While waiting for the reply, Inspector Ward instructed Baker and Ferreboeuf to empty their pockets onto the counter.  Inspector Ward then told Baker to turn so he could pat him down.  Baker resisted and a struggle ensued.  Suddenly, Baker stepped back and drew a Colt .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol from the back of his pants.  He shot Inspector Ward in the heart at point blank range, killing him instantly.  Inspector Ward fell back and into the door as Baker shot him a second time in the chest.

Inspector Reimer heard the first muffled shot from outside the station and he began to run inside.  He stopped when he heard the second shot.  Baker flew out the door and shot at Inspector Reimer.  As Inspector Reimer ran for cover, north towards Canada, Baker fired again, with the bullet breaking a window at the Canada Customs building.  Baker and Ferreboeuf ran for their Vega and took off, leaving their identification inside.

United States Drug Enforcement Agency Special Agent Daryl McClary had been working on a case for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police inside the Lynden station during the incident.  Upon hearing a commotion, he looked out an office window to see Baker shoot Inspector Ward.  Agent McClary ran for the front of the station, watching Baker and Ferreboeuf exit and get into their car.  Crouching around the corner of the station, Agent McClary got over to his car and began to pursue Baker and Ferreboeuf.  He got on the air, giving vehicle and suspect descriptions as the pursuit headed south on Guide-Meridian Road. 

As the pursuit continued south into the town of Lynden, Baker headed east into farm country continuing at a high rate of speed.  As he headed east toward the town of Everson, Baker missed a turn.  He headed down a dead-end road, across a plowed field and became high-centered on a mound of dirt a few feet from the Nooksack River.  The suspects fled from the vehicle on foot towards the river.

An intense manhunt covered a perimeter of about three square miles.  About 125 officers, a Snohomish County Sheriff's Office helicopter and a U.S. Customs fixed wing aircraft were used to locate the suspects.

At about 0200 hours, Ferreboeuf was located near railroad tracks where she was taken into custody without incident.  An expert man tracker from the U.S. Border Patrol, Agent Joel Hardin, began to track Baker.  At about 0800 hours, Bellingham Police Department Detective David McNeill spotted Baker crouching in some bushes getting ready to cross Mission Road.  Detective McNeill approached Baker from behind and ordered him to freeze.  Baker still clutched the Colt .45, but surrendered and was taken into custody.

Baker was eventually transferred to the King County Jail.  On September 18, 1979, after a one-week trial in U.S. District Court, Artie Baker was convicted of premeditated murder of Agent Ward and assaulting federal agents.  On October 12, 1979, Ferreboeuf was convicted of being an accessory to murder, along with aiding and abetting the assault of federal agents.

On a rainy Sunday night, October 14, 1979, Baker was the mastermind behind an escape from the King County Jail.  Baker and six others were able to take four officers hostage, which allowed them to take over central control at the jail, housed on the 10th floor of the King County Courthouse at the time.  The prisoners then had access to elevators that took them out to the 3rd Avenue entrance of the courthouse.  The getaway cars had inadvertently parked along 4th Avenue.  The prisoners, dressed in King County Jail overalls, walked north on 3rd Avenue and up the hill east on James to the awaiting getaway cars where they split up. 

Their escape occurred during shift change for the Seattle Police Department, located across the street in the Seattle Public Safety Building.  Seattle Police Officer Glenn Gilbert spotted the escapees while completing a mail run from the north precinct.  He pursued one of the two stolen getaway Ford Mustangs just as the first broadcast of the escape went out over the air.  While in pursuit, Officer Gilbert opened fire on the car, wounding driver William Dunne and killing prisoner Roger Raynor.  Dunne sideswiped the patrol car, partially disabling it.  Officer Gilbert lost sight of the fleeing Mustang, but officers found it crashed into a cement retaining wall at East Union Street and Harvard Avenue.  Prisoners Pierre Parent and David Warriner fled on foot with Dunne taken into custody.  The two carjacked a Farwest taxi, but crashed it into a utility pole at 19th and East Fir Street on wet pavement.  Parent was captured by Seattle Police Officer Miller and his K-9 partner “Mitch.”  Warriner escaped again.

Meanwhile, Seattle Police Officers Frankie Alexander and Randy Benson attempted to arrest escapees Randy Joe Williams and Gary Van Pilon on Cherry Street between 4th and 5th Avenue.  The other getaway driver, Lawrence Bailey, drove up behind the officers and shot Officer Alexander twice.  Van Pilon was able to allude capture again by getting into the Mustang, but not before Officer Benson could open fire and wound Bailey in the chest.  Williams was taken into custody.

Officers pursued Lawrence and Van Pilon north on 5th Avenue the wrong way.  They forced the Mustang to the curb near Pike Street and took both men into custody.   

Artie Baker was captured by Officer John Mattox after he spotted Baker and Donald Martin at 5th and Cherry.  The men split up and Officer Mattox pursued Baker, who was still armed with a gun.  Officer Mattox located Baker in bushes nearby.  Baker had thrown the pistol away and was taken into custody without any further resistance. 

Officer Alexander and the wounded prisoners were transported to Harborview where a hospital employee alerted police to a suspicious male on an eastbound Metro coach.  Seattle Police and a K-9 found the coach and were able to take Martin into custody.

In all, three prisoners were wounded and Raynor was dead.  Within 45 minutes, all of the prisoners and getaway drivers were in custody with the exception of David Warriner.   On October 16, 1979, Warriner was caputured trying to flee into Canada by Washington State Department of Game Agent Robert Ford.

Because of the violent escape attempt, U.S. District Court Judge Walter T. McGovern accelerated Baker's sentencing to October 17th, where he was sentenced to life in prison, plus ten years.  Ferreboeuf was sentenced to ten years for the accessory charge along with five years for the assault.

Inspector Ward was the first agent killed in the line of duty on the border between Washington and British Columbia. 

The old Lynden Border Station, built in the 1920’s of red brick, was replaced in 1986 with a much larger, more modern facility. In a dedication ceremony held on September 25, 1987, the new Lynden border station was officially named in honor of Inspector Kenneth G. Ward. It was the first time in Customs’ 200-year history that Congress had authorized naming a U. S. border station after an officer killed in the line of duty.