On October 25, 1968, Patrol Inspector Ralph L. Anderson was assigned to the 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. shift on the international boundary near San Ysidro, California. He was working alone, checking the drag trails for signs of illegal crossings.
Shortly after 4:00 p.m., Patrol Inspector Charles Thompson found Patrol Inspector Anderson in a Service-owned vehicle in a remote area near the Mexican border east of the San Ysidro Port of Entry. There was a bullet wound in Inspector Anderson's right temple and a 218 "Bee" Savage bolt action rifle inside the vehicle, with the muzzle pointing upward and leaning toward the decedent.
An investigation conducted by FBI Agent Nicks revealed the rifle was carried loose inside the vehicle with the muzzle upward. A mark on a gearshift lever knob indicated that the trigger of the weapon had fallen against the knob. The impact discharged the rife, and the projectile struck Inspector Anderson in the right temporal region. There was no indication of any other person or persons having been in the area. San Diego County Deputy Coroner Murphy concluded the mode of death to be accidental.