Local news

Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

A gunbattle between an Oroville “desperado” and an Okanogan County sheriff’s posse ended in a deadly inferno.

The desperado, J.H. Ethel, had been wanted on a charge of arson. He skipped out on his bail and disappeared, but authorities learned that he had returned to the family home 8 miles outside of Oroville.

A squad of deputies arrived at the home at 4 a.m., ordered the family out, and began searching for the suspect. He was hidden behind a partition, and when officers began cutting away the wall, he opened fire, slightly wounding one deputy.

The deputies went back to town, gathered a posse and returned. A gunbattle ensued, with a “continuous rain of fire” into the house. Ethel returned fire and shot a deputy in the eye.

Finally, the deputies set the house on fire. They believed that Ethel shot himself when he realized he had no escape. Nothing remained of the house but embers.

The wounded deputy’s chance for recovery was “very small.”

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1943: Army nurse Lt. Edith Greenwood became the first woman to receive the Soldier’s Medal for showing heroism during a fire at a military hospital in Yuma, Ariz.



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