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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in the Inland Northwest: Bank robbers shoot teenage teller in Spangle

Ruth Jennings, 19, was shot during an armed robbery at the State Bank of Spangle on Oct. 4, 1921.  (S-R archives)
Ruth Jennings, 19, was shot during an armed robbery at the State Bank of Spangle on Oct. 4, 1921. (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Two bank robbers shot and wounded Ruth Jennings, 19, and made off with $5,000 from the State Bank of Spangle.

Jennings, the bank’s assistant cashier, was alone in the bank when the robbers entered.

“The first intimation of the attack was when Miss Jennings, with disheveled clothing, emerged to the street after regaining consciousness and spread the alarm,” said the Spokane Daily Chronicle.

She later gave the following account to a Chronicle reporter:

“The talkative one told me to come on back and open the vault door,” she said. “I saw that they were very nervous and thought maybe they were amateurs, so I told him that I didn’t know how to open the door. ‘You can’t pull that stuff on me,’ the talkative one said.”

The other one was holding a gun on her. Suddenly she felt the bullet’s impact in the fleshy part of her arm.

Then she heard the talkative one say, “You damn fool, you shot her.”

Then they produced a handkerchief, covered her face with it, and poured a bottle of chloroform into the handkerchief. The chloroform knocked her out and she didn’t remember anything until she came to on the vault floor. The robbers were gone.

Jennings’ wound “was not believed to believed to be serious and unless complications set in, she will probably not be removed to a hospital,” the newspaper reported.

No trace of the robbers had yet been found.

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