On Monday, August 29, 1921, at approximately 2220 hours, Special Officer McMillin was shot and died from a single gunshot wound inflicted by William H.Woodson at the Barstow, California Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Railroad yard while Officer McMillin was in the lawful performance of his duties.
Special Officer McMillin was on duty at the Barstow yard when the eastbound Santa Fe #22 arrived from San Bernardino. McMillin was “going over” the train when he noticed three men riding on the engine tender. Officer McMillin ordered the men to get down from the tender and leave the railroad yard. According to witnesses, McMillin was escorting the three from the yard when a scuffle ensued which lasted for about a minute. McMillin backed away and was shot. McMillin ran a distance of approximately 30 feet towards the station platform calling to persons on the platform to go after his assailants and that he was alright. McMillin collapsed to the pavement and died of a single gunshot wound to his left chest, the bullet having severed an artery.
Special Officer McMillin’s assailants fled into the desert where numerous posses of peace officers pursued them. The trio surrendered at gunpoint to a posse at 1315 hours on August 30, 1921. William H. Woodson was tried and convicted of the murder of Special Officer McMillin in the Superior Court of San Bernardino County. Woodson was sentenced to ten years in the state prison.
Thomas C. McMillin was born in England in November of 1864 and immigrated with his family to the United States in 1869. After a brief stay in Maryland the family moved to Osage City, Kansas where they pursued their trade as miners. McMillin is noted as a well-respected lawman having served with the Osage Police Department for ten years then with the Albuquerque, New Mexico Police Department as Chief of Police from 1898 to 1916. Special Officer McMillin served with the AT&SF Railroad for five years. McMillin was survived by his wife, son, and two daughters.