Jim Kershner’s this day in history


From our archives, 100 years ago

Two boys playing in a barn near East Sprague came upon a sinister cache: a bottle of nitroglycerine, a box of dynamite caps, some steel drills and other tools of the safe-cracker’s art.

The boys immediately notified police, who put the barn under surveillance. They hoped to catch the cracksmen when they returned to their cache. However, the yeggs didn’t return.

It was believed to be the cache of the men who blew a safe in Newport a few days earlier.

From the shootout beat: A neighbor called police detective Victor Benway at his home and told him two men were stealing lumber from a construction site. 

Benway went out and confronted two men loading lumber into a rig. He announced he was a police officer, and one of the men whipped out a gun and started firing. Benway wrestled for the gun, but then the other man ran up, pistol drawn, and shouted, “Take that, you d—- cur!”

That man began firing, too. Most of the shots went wild, but not all. Benway was hit in the leg and was too weakened to grapple with his opponent. When neighbors ran to the scene, the men vanished into the night. 

Benway was rushed to the hospital and was in serious condition with a shattered bone in his leg.

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