Harrowing details emerged about the murder of Frank McAniff, a former Gonzaga University student who was shot by an armed gang on a freight train on Sept. 20.
McAniff was riding the freight trains with five friends on the way to pick apples in Wenatchee.
At the coroner’s inquest, one of his friends testified that they had run into trouble on a freight train out of Whitefish, Montana, when a group of Wobblies became angry because they wouldn’t join the Industrial Workers of the World.
When McAniff and his friends got to Spokane, they armed themselves with clubs because they feared they might be attacked. Not long after the freight train pulled out of Spokane seven or eight men surrounded McAniff and his friends.
“One ordered, ‘Put your hands up, you un-American (expletives deleted),’ ” said one of McAniff’s friends. “We were all lying down when almost with their words they started shooting. … I don’t know why I wasn’t hit.”
He jumped off the train and while walking along the track “almost stumbled over a body lying along the track.”
“I discovered it was McAniff, and taking my coat off placed it over him and his cap over his head,” he said. “I then started running down the track toward Spokane and was given a ride in an automobile … where I notified police.”
More than two dozen Wobblies were taken off the train at Harrington and detained for questioning, but there were indications that the gunmen had jumped off the train after the shooting.