Arrow-right Camera


Jim Kershner’s This day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

Spokane police captain – and former acting police chief – John T. Sullivan died two days after an assassin’s bullet ripped through his back as he sat reading a newspaper in a rocker at the window of his Sinto Avenue home.

Suspicion fell immediately on the Industrial Workers of the World (the Wobblies), who Sullivan had confronted in Spokane’s famous “Free Speech Fight” in 1909. One Wobbly, who had made earlier threats against Sullivan’s life, was already being questioned.

It soon became clear that there were plenty of other people who had grudges against Sullivan. On his deathbed, Sullivan said, “I have made many enemies; but I forgive them all.” Police had already picked up and questioned several other people, including a Hillyard jeweler.

Unfortunately, police had few actual clues to work with. The case was never officially solved.

In 1924, police learned that a man in Alabama had repeatedly bragged about the shooting, but he was never prosecuted for the excellent reason that his wife had already killed him in self-defense.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1789: The first U.S. presidential election was held. Americans voted for electors who, a month later, chose George Washington to be the nation’s first president.