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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Police stage sting after finding cache of bootleg liquor

From our archives, 100 years ago

Police raided a room in the Spokane Hotel and hit the jackpot.

In Room 105 they found “stacks and stacks of liquor in cartons, a cashbox containing $231, piles of telegraph blanks, thousands of a new kind of claim cards for the use of patrons, liquor price lists and other impediments.”

Then police proceeded to pull a sting operation. Two detectives pretended to be clerks at this illegal liquor store. After only about a minute, a man came in with a claim card, showing that he had ordered liquor. He paid for his consignment, gave them his name and address, and was asked to wait for his liquor. Meanwhile, several other men came in with claim cards. When the room was full, police arrested all of them and took them to headquarters. Then the process was repeated with a new batch of victims.

Meanwhile, a Northern Express wagon pulled up front with 30 packages of liquor. The driver was arrested and the liquor confiscated.

From the shootout beat: A Spokane policeman saw two men acting suspiciously at Hamilton Street and Sharp Avenue. He suspected they might be holdup men. He accosted them, asked what they were doing and began to search them. One of the men pulled a pistol and emptied it. Several of the bullets hit the policeman, and one hit the other suspect, who apparently tried to intervene.

The officer, shot in the leg and scalp, fell to the ground, pulled his pistol and fired four shots in the direction of the fleeing men. The injured man fell and was arrested when more officers arrived. The gunman was arrested after police spotted him a few blocks away.

Both the policeman and the injured suspect were taken to the hospital with serious, but not life-threatening injuries.

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