On December 24, 1907, Constable Preston V. Swanguen was summoned from his home during Christmas Eve dinner to investigate a disturbance at Joe Winkels’ Blind Pig Saloon in Temecula. Swanguen was informed of two men involved in the disturbance. Because he knew both men, he did not carry his gun.
Constable Swanguen entered the bar and an enraged Horace Magee shouted, “Somebody has got to pay for this.” Magee had been drinking heavily all evening and argued with the saloon owner and other patrons. After his initial outburst, Magee seemed to calm down and offered Swanguen his hand. Swanguen either didn’t see the hand or chose to ignore it. By the time he turned to take Magee’s hand, it was too late. Magee had already pulled his gun and began to fire. Swanguen was struck in the chest and killed. In his effort to escape, Magee shot and killed bar patron Louis Escallier. Magee was convicted of the murders and given a life sentence, but served only 12 years at San Quentin before being paroled.
Constable Swanguen was well known and respected in the Temecula community where he had been an officer for approximately 13 years. He was survived by his wife Cassandra Johnson.