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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Tue., Feb. 26, 2013

From our archives, 100 years ago

The headline was guaranteed to get tongues wagging in Spokane: “Chinese in Bloody Fight at Rooms of Pretty White Girl.”

One Chinese noodle-parlor proprietor attacked another in a jealous rage over the attentions of Stella Ward, a 20-year-old nurse and former Holy Names Academy student. 

One of the men, Wong Pong Yen, lived in the room next to Ward’s in the Windsor Hotel. He somehow learned that his rival, Quong Wah Lo, was visiting Miss Ward next door. When Lo stepped out of Ward’s room, Yen was waiting for him with a gun. Between four and seven shots were fired, but none landed. Yen started beating Lo on the head with the heavy gun. Lo somehow wrenched the gun away from Yen and hit him so hard that he tore a long gash through Yen’s scalp. 

Police arrived and arrested Lo, but Yen had escaped through a window and across a neighboring rooftop. He was arrested shortly afterward at the Canton Noodle Parlor, his place of business.

Miss Ward was also being held as a witness. Her mother told reporters Miss Ward was a “perfectly good girl” and a Sunday school teacher.

However, police said they found 13 bottles of beer in her apartment, along with 17 empty beer and whiskey bottles.

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