February 5, 2011 in City

Jim Kershner’s This day in history » On the Web: spokesman.com/topics/local-history

By Correspondent

From our archives, 100 years ago

The two-week, cross-state search for murderer Charles F. Cook, 23, ended when a sheriff’s posse confronted him on a bridge near Cle Elum.

“Thank God the hunt is over,” said the exhausted Cook, when he was arrested.

He then spoke openly to reporters. Cook, the son of a justice of the peace in Kahlotus (between Ritzville and Walla Walla), said he had been “drinking hard for three years.”

On the fateful day, he had started on a drinking binge at noon in a Kahlotus saloon. Then he walked into another saloon and the bartender refused to serve him. So he pulled a gun and shot him.

After being caught, he expressed “sorrow and pity for the murdered man’s wife.” He could offer no explanation for the deed except that he was “a crazy drunk” and that drinking made his heart weak.

He hid out in the rocks and coulees around Kahlotus for many days.

When hounds were released on his trail, he started walking west. Once, a search party passed within three feet of him, as he hid in a ditch. He sold his gun at a secondhand store in Ellensburg, which is what alerted the posse to his whereabouts.

He was, he told reporters, “ready for the gallows.”

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email