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100 years ago in Spokane: Former fire chief shoots man in the back

 (The Spokesman-Review / SR Archives)
(The Spokesman-Review / SR Archives)

From our archive, 100 years ago

Walter Layman, 25, lay paralyzed in a Spokane hospital after he was shot by former Spokane fire captain J.F. Grant in a late night altercation involving Grant’s wife.

The shooting occurred in the middle of Washington Street, near Montgomery Avenue. Accounts of the shooting varied wildly.

Mrs. Grant said that she had been following her husband “to see where he was going.” She had asked Layman, a friend she met at a cafe, to come along with her as a witness.The Grants had been having marital trouble, and she told police she “was tired of the beatings” her husband had been giving her.

Layman, whose occupation was described as a marine fireman, told a somewhat different story. He said that he had known Mrs. Grant for some time, because they both ate at the Frisco Cafe on Trent Avenue. He said Mrs. Grant told him that she was going out for a walk to visit a fireman’s family in the area, and asked him to accompany her. He accepted her invitation. As they came to an intersection, they met two men.

She introduced one of them as her husband. However, no handshake ensued. Grant “just began cursing me, and then shot as I turned my back to him.” Layman was shot between the sixth and seventh vertebrae and was paralyzed from the waist down.

Grant admitted to police that he fired a shot, but claimed that he shot into the air to scare Layman.

Both Grant and his wife were locked up pending further investigation.

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