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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

100 years ago in Spokane: Spokane police officer shot in New Year’s holdup attempt recovers at hospital

Harry A. Richards was recovering in Sacred Heart Hospital after being shot through the abdomen on New Year’s Eve.  (S-R archives)
Harry A. Richards was recovering in Sacred Heart Hospital after being shot through the abdomen on New Year’s Eve. (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Harry Richards was recovering in Sacred Heart Hospital from a gunshot wound, and his police brethren paid tribute to him by declaring that he was “game to the core.”

Richards had been accosted on the way to the grocery store by two holdup men on New Year’s Eve. One of the men confessed that he had ordered Richards to hold up his hands, but to his surprise, Richards punched him. The robber fired his gun into Richards’ abdomen.

If the robbers had known that Richards was a “special police officer” and that he was carrying a gun, they might not have been so surprised when Richards resisted.

“To the outsider it may look like foolishness to have attempted to resist the men, but police officers see it in a different light,” said Capt. G.G. Miles. “Richards had a star and a gun. When the holdups found them, they would have taken them away from him and beaten him severely. That is the custom among the ruffian gentry.”

Both robbers were arrested after a downtown gun battle in which police fired 20 shots.

From the rock-climbing beat: Residents near Minnehaha Park were alarmed to see two young men “crawling over the rocks” in the manner of mountain goats. They called police.

Police arrived to find a campfire atop a high rock. One man was standing next to the fire; the other was asleep.

When an officer climbed up he discovered that both men had been attempting “to walk off an alleged New Year’s jag.” They arrested one of them on a drunkenness charge.

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