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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago in Spokane: 169 cases of liquor seized, 8 arrested, 1 dead following gun battle with rum-runners

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

A stunning telegram arrived from the Okanogan County sheriff: “Seven liquor cars passed through reservation, four captured by Okanogan officers. Three crossed Condon’s ferry, headed for Spokane. One liquor runner killed.”

This news galvanized Spokane’s Prohibition officers, who armed themselves and headed to the northern and western approaches to the city to await the remaining three rum-running vehicles.

Meanwhile, a few details began to emerge about the shootout in the Okanogan.

The confrontation occurred a few miles above Condon’s ferry, which was upstream of Bridgeport on the Columbia River. Apparently officers intercepted the rum-runners on the road and attempted to stop them. A running gun battle ensued. A suspect named Sterling was killed and officers believed more might have been injured. Four cars were detained before they could make it to the ferry.

Eight men were arrested and “hurried to jail.” A total of 169 cases of liquor were confiscated.

Yet three other cars made it to the ferry. Authorities believed that the booze caravan’s destination was Spokane, so all jurisdictions between the Okanogan and Spokane were on high alert for the armed bootleggers.

Okanogan deputies and federal agents had apparently been tipped off in advance.

From the football beat: Thousands were expected to greet the Lewis and Clark High School football team on their arrival from Toledo, Ohio, where they lost a hard-fought battle against Scott High School.

Even their rivals at North Central High School were expected to be front-and-center at the celebration.

“Bring a hunk of iron, a piece of gas pipe, a bass drum – anything that will make a noise,” one of the organizers said. “But be there. The gang is coming home.”