Jim Kershner’s this day in history

TUESDAY, JULY 23, 2013

From our archives, 100 years ago

Alice Johnson, 20, of Spokane, was spending the night in a Plummer, Idaho, hotel after accepting a stenographer’s job in that town. At 5 a.m., an old family friend, J.D. McIntosh, 60, burst into her room, shot her twice and then shot himself.

Both Johnson and McIntosh were seriously wounded but expected to survive.

McIntosh, an unemployed Spokane waiter, had known her since she was 6, but in recent months he had become “crazy in love with her,” according to her friends. He asked her to marry him and when she turned him down, he threatened to shoot her. He apparently followed her to Plummer, unbeknownst to her, and registered at the same hotel.

McIntosh wrote what amounted to a suicide note, in which he said that “no other man shall have the use of little Alice.” He asked to be buried at her side.

McIntosh was described by acquaintances as quiet and retiring, but also with a “prominent liking for young girls.” 

At the hospital, while being treated for a bullet wound to the head, he begged the doctors to kill him.

From the hospital beat: Dr. J.M. Semple, head of what was then called the Medical Lake Insane Asylum, was exonerated of all charges after a lengthy investigation into conditions at the hospital.

Most of the charges were found to be “grossly exaggerated.” 

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