Jim Kershner’s This day in history
From our archives, 100 years ago
Spokane police were investigating the “mysterious” murder of an “Austrian” at a Main Avenue boarding house (Austrian being the all-purpose word for Eastern European).
In truth, there wasn’t much mystery about it. Witnesses said that a number of men were playing cards in the backroom of the boarding house when one man, described as an Austrian saloonkeeper, got angry, pulled out a gun and started shooting.
The victim, a 28-year-old laborer, was shot in the back of the head. Another man, a 22-year-old Austrian bartender, was wounded and taken to the hospital.
“As I fell, he beat me over the head with the revolver, and the 10 other men in the room rushed over to get me out,” the wounded man said in an interview from the operating table.
Police thought they discovered a motive for the shooting. The suspect operated an Austrian saloon on Main Avenue, and he was angry because the wounded man worked for another saloon that was taking business away. The murdered man may have been hit accidentally.
Also on this date
(From the Associated Press)
1520: Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reached the Pacific Ocean after passing through the South American strait that now bears his name.