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Monday, November 11, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Policeman turned grocer fires back at armed robbers

The robbers fled after taking the cash, and the grocer immediately grabbed his own gun. He ran out of the store and emptied it at the robbers as they fled. (SR archives)
The robbers fled after taking the cash, and the grocer immediately grabbed his own gun. He ran out of the store and emptied it at the robbers as they fled. (SR archives)

Three men walked into the Melwood Grocery on North Helena Street, and immediately drew their guns.

Then they ordered the proprietor to throw up his hands, The Spokesman-Review reported. They took cash from the till and relieved the proprietor of $50 from his pockets.

“Hold your hands up higher,” the ringleader said to the proprietor. “Or I’ll kill you in a minute.”

If the robbers thought they could intimidate the proprietor, they were wrong. His name was Thomas H. Casey, and he was a former Spokane policeman.

Casey cooly replied, “I can see that, but you want to be careful with that gun or it will go off and kill somebody, the way you are jumping.”

The men fled after taking the cash, and Casey immediately grabbed his own gun. He ran out of the store and emptied it at the robbers as they fled. “They fired back at him while they were running, but all the shots went wild,” said The Spokesman-Review.

Police were searching the area.

From the murder beat: A farmer in Springdale was shot dead and his wife critically wounded, and the shooter was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot, the Spokesman reported.

All three were part of the area’s Finnish community, and they had apparently quarreled.

The gunman apparently shot the farmer in the yard, and then went inside and shot the wife. He also sprayed bullets at the family’s three children, but they all managed to escape and run to the neighbors.

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