Sunday, October 30, 2022

The Barbary Coast Strangler 1880

Some say it was Halloween, but in fact, it was just before Midnight on October 20, 1880, when a heavy-set middle-aged bald man entered a San Francisco Police Station. On duty at the front desk was San Francisco Police Sergeant John Shields. It had been a fairly slow night at the station house located at Washington and Kearny streets. And really, that was a strange thing for such a station truly in the middle of the Barbary Coast.

San Francisco's Barbary Coast was an evil place of lawlessness and danger, all brought on by those who were the most worthless of that city. Prostitutes, pimps, cheats, killers, crooks, that red-light district was named for an expanse of North African coastline from Morocco to modern-day Libya for a reason. 

The area got its name, "the Barbary Coast," from sailors who came ashore and waded through the saloons and brothels, the widespread "shanghaiing," that horrible practice of drugging and kidnapping able-bodied men to serve on ships in need of sailors. So yes, like the Barbary Coast of Northern Africa, San Francisco's Barbary Coast was home to West Coast pirates, slave traders, and killers who would do anything for money.

On that October night of 1880, as soon as George Wheeler opened his mouth. the heavy-set middle-aged bald man changed what was a slow-moving night filled with the same old saloon brawls, stabbings, and the usual unidentified floater found in among the ship's anchored in the bay, to a night of true mystery and sadness.

Looking directly at Police Sergeant Shields, the stranger said, "My name is George Wheeler and I wish to surrender, as I have just strangled my sister-in-law, Delia Tillson. Here is a key to a trunk in room 14 at 23 Kearny street. Go there and you will find her body." 

As he made his statement, Sgt. Shields noted that Wheeler appeared very calm and actually relaxed about what he reported to have done. Sgt. Shields and the other Police Officers were understandably skeptical at first. They knew full well that all sorts of kooks would come in and confess to all sorts of things for various reasons; some simply wanted a place to sleep and a free meal while the law sorted things out.

While a little skeptical, Sgt. Shields sensed something different about this and immediately took Wheeler into custody. He then sent officers to the location of Wheeler's room. 

At the boardinghouse, they found his room, and the officers used the keys turned in by Wheeler to open the trunk. It was in the middle of the room just as it was described. Upon opening it, the officers found what they described as "the body of a good-looking and well-proportioned young woman." Her fully dressed body had been stuffed into the trunk.

As soon as finding her body, officers immediately started interrogating the people who resided in the boardinghouse. The officers learned that the woman was known as Wheeler's wife and not his sister-in-law. They also learned that another woman, who was out at the time, was actually known as his sister-in-law. 

After the officers returned to the station, they further questioned Wheeler. As for Wheeler, it was reported that "without coercion," he voluntarily made an additional statement. 

Here is that statement, "Delia Tillson, the girl whose body you found, is my sister-in-law, regardless of any statement made to the contrary, and she was 21 years old a few months ago. I married her sister Mary in Massachusetts eleven years ago. 

Six years later I became intimate with Delia, who lived in the same house with us. About a year afterward Delia confessed to my wife that she was in a delicate condition and that I was responsible for it. Their folks were highly respected, and to avoid a scandal Mary protected Delia and the child was bom in our house, but it died a few weeks afterward. 

Shortly after this the three of us came to San Francisco. But, failing to obtain employment, I took both women to Cisco, Placer County, where I was employed as an engineer. At this place, Delia met a man named George Peckham, with whom she became intimate, according to her confessions to me. 

By this time I had grown to love Delia as much as I did Mary, my wife, and the three of us occupied one room. When Delia made this admission, I became furious. But, I forgave her with the understanding that she should cease her relations with Peckham and accompany me to San Francisco where we engaged the rooms in which I strangled her tonight, and where we were known as man and wife. 

We came here about five months ago. About one month ago my wife located us and came to live with us, she posing as my sister-in-law. 

Tonight I went out to see Officer Moorehouse on business, and when I returned Delia was in the rooms and had on her hat and gloves. I asked her where she had been. She sat on my knee and confessed that she had been in constant communication with Peckham ever since we left Cisco and that it was he who told my wife where we were located. 

Delia furthermore told me that she and Peckham had met that night, and had agreed to go to Sacramento and live as man and wife. This admission crazed me, and as she sat on my knee I strangled her. I then crowded the body into the trunk. My wife was out at the time."

As a result of Wheeler's very descriptive confession, the San Francisco Police searched for the true Mrs. Wheeler. She was finally located and questioned at length. During her questioning, she is said to have reluctantly admitted that her husband's statement was true. She was his wife and Delia was her sister. 

Some say that Wheeler must have come to his senses during his first trial since it was about then that he seem to realize that he was facing being hanged for the murder of his sister-in-law. Some surmised he did since that was when he started to fight being hanged. 

It's true. In fact, a few organizations against capital punishment provided him with lawyers to fight being hanged. And yes they did just that.  Over the next three and half years in one trial after another, Wheeler and his legal team fought against his being hanged for what he did. And really, for a while, it looked as though he was going to cheat the hangman of making sure such a person never had the chance to do such a thing again.   

What's interesting is that even though he confessed and there was no question of his guilt, believe it or not, Wheeler's lawyers got him four trials. And after each trial, after each appeal for a new trial, Wheeler was still found guilty. 

Of course, in the end, after legal maneuvering couldn't save him, George Wheeler, the man who became known as "The Barbary Coast Strangler" for a very short while, was finally hanged on January 23rd, 1884. Yes indeed. he was finally hanged as he should have been. Thus making sure that the fiend that some called "The Barbary Coast Strangler" would never strangle another woman ever again.   

Tom Correa

Friday, October 28, 2022

Tucker Carlson: The United States Is About To Run Out Of Diesel Fuel

This will adversely affect all Americans, but especially farmers and ranchers who need to get their products to markets to feed Americans. This should make people angry enough to get off their backsides and make their voices heard.

And before you write to tell me that this horrific problem has nothing to do with Rural America, the Cowboy Culture, the West, or our ability as Americans to care for our own, please don't. This is all about watching out for Americans first. This is a huge example of what happens when Americans have an administration in the White House, as we certainly do, who refuse to make the needs of the American people the number one priority that it should be. 

Tom Correa

Friday, October 14, 2022

The Great Egg Wars of the Farallon Islands 1849 - 1896

Pile of murre eggs at the Farallon Islands, circa 1870s.

While in Monterey, California, with my wife on a well-deserved week of rest and recuperation a little over a month or so ago, we decided to do "the tourist thing" and take in the sights, try the various restaurants, drive around as much as $6 a gallon of gas would allow us, and kick back at the ocean for a while. At one point during our trip, I found myself thinking about how certain places make me think of certain things.

For example, back in 2016, while my wife and I visited Yosemite National Park, I remember thinking about the fairly short-lived Mariposa Indian War. The reason that I call it "short-lived" is because it officially started in December of 1850 and was essentially over by July 1851. When I returned home, I immediately set out to write about it.

I remember writing about how "with the discovery of gold, the California Trail was forged. It actually forked off of the Oregon Trail and headed southward into California. With the trail open, hundreds of thousands of gold seekers, settlers, and other opportunists, crossed that trail over the Sierra Nevada mountains and into Northern California. At that time, California consisted of a large number of different Indian tribes and Californios. Californios were the descendants of Spanish California.

By the end of May 1849, it's estimated that tens of thousands of settlers of every nationality had entered California. Many have the notion that those gold seekers were all Whites or all Americans from back East, but that wasn't the case. While the majority may have been from the United States, thousands of miles away, many were from places such as Europe, Mexico, Latin America, South America, Australia, China, and even Hawaii.

Just within a few years, California's non-Indian population swelled from some 14,000 in 1848 to well over 200,000 by 1852. And while some Indian tribes actually joined in and took up mining, many Indians opted to work for mines, and some of the Indian tribes had the idea that they 'could more easily supply their wants by stealing.'

The fact is, with the influx of miners and settlers, there was a marked depletion of natural game. Because folks shot up all of the game, to survive, local Indians learned that horses and mules were viable substitutes for the missing game. Of course, the problem was that horses and mules were valuable property of the miners and settlers. Soon, raids for supplies and food became common on both sides. Normally, those raids consisted of things being stolen -- not killings."

As I wrote about the huge influx of people into California, I remember thinking about how the lack of available food was one aspect of the California Gold Rush that most don't think about. And while people want to hear stories about stagecoach robbers like Black Bart, killings, hangings, vigilantes, and the extreme violence of the Old West, most don't think about the negative impact of food shortages and the horrible consequences that it had on everyone, including the local tribes during the California Gold Rush. Crime involving the theft of food was huge at the time.

While in Monterey with my wife, we watched the seals and sea lions, the otters, and the many different seabirds. The pelicans formed winged formations that were reminiscent of World War II warplanes on patrol. As they peeled off and dived into the sea from high above the ocean, they looked so much like a squadron of Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers going in for the kill.

I was glad to see what's known as the "Common Murre." To this old Marine, who, by the way, spent my fair share of time at sea while in the Corps, I've always thought that the murre is an interesting seabird.

What makes them so interesting? Well, first of all, they spend most of their time at sea. They spend eight or nine months of each year continuously at sea. While that's longer than most Sailors stay at sea, they have something very in common with Sailors in that when they come ashore -- it's to mate. Of course, in the case of the murres, it's on rocky cliffs on shore and tiny islands off the California coast.

But more than that, I find it extremely interesting that they are some swimming fools. It's true. Their short wings are perfect for diving and "flying" underwater. And believe it or not, it is said that they are actually more maneuverable underwater than they are in the air. Also, something that might surprise you, they can dive to almost 200 feet down for fish. And no, although they resemble penguins, they are not related to them.

As for their mating habits which may or may not be akin to Sailors, murres breed in colonies at high densities. They nest in pairs and may nest right next to another pair of murres. Yes, actually in contact with their "neighbors." As for their nest, they don't make a nest as we think of when we think of other nest-building birds. Their "single egg is incubated on a bare rock ledge on a cliff face." Imagine that.

One place along the Pacific Coast of California that the murre has used as a breeding ground for untold millennia or more is the small group of rocky islands off of San Francisco known as the Farallon Islands also known as "the Farallones." The tiny group of islands and sea stacks are only about 200 acres in size, but seabirds of all sorts love the place. They are located approximately 25 miles off the coast from San Francisco.

So about now you're probably wondering what those seabirds have to do with the lack of available food during the California Gold Rush. Well, with people arriving in California during the Gold Rush in droves, and food becoming so scarce, people started raiding the murre's nests. Yes, the early newcomers to San Francisco started regular trips out to the tiny cliff faces of the Farallon Islands to harvest murre eggs. Obviously, this proves the old saying to be true, "When you're hungry, you'll eat almost anything."

How hungry were they? Well, believe it or not, the birds and their eggs were in big demand. In fact, while dark and quite oily bird meat was consumed, their eggs were what folks were after. They were harvested in huge numbers.

Those who would board boats from San Francisco to go to the Farallones to harvest murre eggs became known as "Eggers." So how many eggs were harvested? Well, here's another believe it or not. Eggers are believed to have taken at least half a million eggs a year from the Farallon Islands in the mid-19th century to feed the folks in San Francisco.

If that sounds too hard to believe, imagine this, one man actually ended up doing time in San Quentin over killing someone over the harvesting of murre eggs. His fate had to do with what became known as the Great Egg Wars of the Farallon Islands.

What was that about? Imagine that you have murre eggs that sell for $1 per dozen? That's probably not enough money today to make you go out of your way to find murre eggs for sale. But, what do you think would happen if people found out that murre eggs sell for almost $40 a dozen? Yes, there would be a scramble to gather and sell them.

And really, that was the case. Since $1 in 1849 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $38.55 today, selling murre eggs was a very lucrative enterprise. At the time, because murre eggs fetched $1 per dozen, and there was so much money to be made from selling them to a desperate public clamoring for more eggs, the great California egg rush was on. Of course, as with any endeavor of that sort, there is going to be competition, rivalries, and clashes.

California's Farallon Islands' rocky craggy cliffs make up the largest murre breeding colony of rooks in the contiguous United States. And as I said before, that nesting area for those seabirds is only used when they show up to mate. Remember, the murre, a seabird very similar to a seagull or a penguin, for the most part, lives on the sea. They only come ashore during mating season, which is between May and August to mate. So obviously, that's when the eggs are there. And yes, that's when the Eggers fought for control of the islands.

By 1850, a group of Eggers launched the Farallon Egg Company which was also known as the Pacific Egg Company. It is interesting to note that by 1854, a half-million eggs were harvested from the Farallon Islands each year. While harvesting was bad enough, the Eggers smashed the murre eggs on the first day of the season. That was so that they would know which eggs would be fresh for the taking.

Clashes broke out. As the years went by, more and more clashes took place. This went on for years until the Pacific Egg Company claimed exclusive harvesting rights to the Farallon Islands. They were so serious about claiming those murre eggs that they hired armed guards to keep rival egg poachers at bay.

Things got so heated that even the federal government was told to stay off those islands. That came about right after a couple of ships carrying goods and people to San Francisco during the Gold Rush wrecked on the islands' rocky shores. To fix the problem, the federal government decided to build a lighthouse on the islands. When the government sent a construction crew to build the lighthouse, they were initially turned away by the Pacific Egg Company's armed guards. In one report dealing with the building of the lighthouse, it said that even after the construction crews finally made it ashore to build the much-needed lighthouse, Eggers fought with the construction crew and then later fought with the lighthouse keepers. In more than one case, the Eggers drove the lighthouse keepers off the islands.

When a ship's Captain by the name of David Batchelder and his crew repeatedly tried to go ashore, they were turned away. And since the eggs were seen as treasure, Capt. Batchelder was determined to get them. While he and his crew were turned away once, on June 3rd, 1863, he returned with three ships loaded with 28 armed men. Waiting for them was a private security force also armed and ready.

While the headlines of what was taking place in the East and down South during the Civil War took precedence of what took place off the coast of San Francisco, the story goes that first there were insults hurled between those on the ships and those ashore. Then Capt. Batchelder's ships pulled away. Then whiskey was added to the mix. After a while, Capt. Batchelder and the other three ships returned to resume their effort to go ashore. They did so in full force while opening fire on the guards. Of course, the egg company security guards returned fire.

What took place during the 20-minute gun battle would definitely qualify as a "Firefight" today, And yes, this wasn't a 30-second shooting in a small lot. This was one of the lengthier gun battles to ever take place in the Old West. Capt. Batchelder's crew and three ships with 28 armed men were facing off against about ten of Pacific Egg Company's armed security guards.

An egg company security guard by the name of Edward Perkins was one of the first struck by gunfire. Though he was killed, it's believed that Perkins was able to return fire even after being shot. As for the egg company's other security guards, they reportedly shot five of the "invaders" to successfully make them retreat to their ships. It was reported that the Captain of one of the ships was actually shot in the throat during the skirmish. That ship's Captain died two weeks later.

As for Capt. Batchelder? He and four members of his crew were later arrested. He and one of the crewmen ended up going to trial for manslaughter. During the trial, the Pacific Egg Company security guards one by one recounted what took place during the lengthy gun battle. While it would definitely qualify as a "Fire Fight" today, that was one of the lengthier gun battles to take place in the Old West.

The security force's foreman Isaac Harrington corroborated the accounts from his men while placing full blame on Capt. Batchelder. He said, "Perkins was shot during the first volley. He fired a musket first, subsequently drawing a revolver, fired two shots after he was struck, and then fell back and expired. The fatal shot came from a boat under Batchelder’s command. I am positive that the first shot came from the boats."

Found guilty of manslaughter, his appeal failed, David Batchelder was sentenced to a year at San Quentin for the manslaughter death of Edward Perkins. Batchelder was given number 2692, and he was received at San Quentin on February 26, 1864. The prison register listed him as 36 years old, born in Massachusetts, with a whale tattoo on his left forearm. His occupation is listed as Seaman. He was released after serving nine months of his one-year sentence.

By the mid-1860s, domestic chicken egg production increased and soon murre eggs were replaced. No longer was there the need to gather the murre eggs. By the mid-1870s, chicken ranches sprang up in places like the town of Petaluma just north of San Francisco. It is interesting to note that Petaluma soon became known for its chicken processing industries. And yes, there was a time when Petaluma was known as the "Egg Capital of the World," even to the extent of having the nickname "Chickaluma". Another bit of trivia is that Petaluma is the place where the egg incubator was invented by Lyman Byce in 1879.

As for the Pacific Egg Company of San Francisco and the Farallon Islands, by 1881, U.S. Marshals had to forcibly evict that company and all of its personnel from the islands. And while the demand for murre eggs had almost died away completely, the federal government had guards posted there just to stop poachers from gathering eggs there. And finally, by the early 1900s, there was a complete ban placed on all egg gathering on the Farallon Islands. That ban was put in place through a presidential executive order signed by President Theodore Roosevelt.

As for the murre seabird, it is said that prior to the Gold Rush there were close to 1 million murre seabirds. In the 1980s, only about 40,000 murre seabirds could be found on California's Farallon Islands. Imagine that.

Tom Correa

Monday, October 3, 2022

Calaveras County Sheriff's Office -- Undersheriff Jim Macedo Retires

Calaveras County Undersheriff Jim Macedo

Story by Capt. Rachelle Whiting
Calaveras County Sheriff's Office

Undersheriff Jim Macedo has either worked in, supervised, or managed every division, unit, and team in the Sheriff’s Office during his career. It would be impossible to list all of his accomplishments and highlights throughout this time, however, here is some information to memorialize Jim:

Undersheriff Macedo holds degrees in both Biology and Criminal Justice Management. He is married to a prosecutor and they raised two sons during his time working for the Sheriff’s Office. He is second-generation law enforcement.

Macedo started working for the Sheriff’s Office on November 14, 1994. He carried his father’s service 357 Revolver as his first duty weapon. He was hired by Sheriff Bill Nuttall and worked through FIVE Sheriffs (including himself, but we’ll get to that later) throughout his 28-year career with the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriffs Nuttall, Downum, Kuntz, Macedo and DiBasilio.

Macedo worked as a patrol Deputy during the days when you had to check out a portable radio as well as your vehicle and check them both back in at the end of shift because there were not enough radios or cars for everyone. At this time, the department had a total of two computers, both of which were located in Dispatch. Deputies hand-wrote their reports. I’m not making this up as a joke, this is fact.

Macedo was the Sheriff’s Office Employee of the Year in 1998. He worked on the Special Enforcement Team including monitoring 290 registrants. One highlight that Macedo remembers from working SET was when he identified a convicted sex offender from San Jose who was hiding out in the Forest Meadows area. Jim did surveillance for days and figured out where the suspect was located in order to take him into custody. We do not know who was more surprised about the arrest, the suspect, or the parents of the kids that the suspect was giving piano lessons to.

Macedo worked in Narcotics for years and held a position on the Narcotics Entry Team. For the newer Deputies, an assignment to work narcotics during those times is nothing like the current MET Team now. While working in an undercover capacity in Calaveras, Alpine, and Amador counties; Macedo made no less than a hundred undercover buys of all kinds of drugs including marijuana, meth, mushrooms, and MDMA, to name a few. During this time working Narcotics, Macedo and his team investigated and dismantled numerous clandestine drug labs. He once took down 2 labs in one day. During one notable case, Macedo and his Narcotics Unit co-workers investigated a Mexican National drug cartel that was producing 150 pounds of methamphetamine per cook. They coordinated seven search warrants served simultaneously to take down the drug ring. During his time working in Narcotics, Macedo also assisted detectives with numerous investigations including high-profile cases.

As a Field Training Officer, Macedo trained around 24 to 26 deputy sheriff trainees. That is quite a number of brand new deputies who cycled through Jim’s patrol car. Yes car, because according to Jim real cops drove the cars, not the SUVs. Some of those trainees are now Lieutenants with our Department. If you see the ones with a nervous tick, now you know where it started. Not to mention those of us that had to fight Jim during defensive tactics training when he wore the red man suit.

Macedo is a former Treasurer for the Deputy Sheriff’s Association and later spent time as President of the Sheriff’s Management Union.

He testified during the trial and death penalty for the Speed Freak Killers (Shermantine and Hertzog) serial killer case. He is a court-certified expert for testimony in narcotics and gangs in both state and federal courts.

Macedo was promoted to Sergeant and supervised shifts on patrol. For those of us that worked under then Sergeant Macedo, we got used to not knowing where Jim would pop up next to keep us on our toes and learning quickly how to write reports for the stuff that Jim would initiate.

Macedo spent about 3 years as a Lieutenant working as the Jail Commander and the Patrol Division Commander. He was involved for many years on SARB, the School Attendance Review Board.

12 years as a Captain, Macedo has helped lead the department’s upper management Sheriff’s Administration. This included through the Butte Fire in 2015 that devastated our county. With the unfortunate death of Sheriff Gary Kuntz, Macedo was our acting Sheriff from October 2015 to June 2016 until the appointment of our current Sheriff Rick DiBasilio, who would later appoint Macedo to the Undersheriff position.

Macedo has spent many years managing the Sheriff’s Volunteer Unit and is not only a leader amongst that group, but also a friend to many.

Macedo worked to create the new CSI position at our agency. He was also integral in getting our Budget Analyst position and the structure of our current Financial Division.

Macedo has provided testimony for state committees on various topics. He has lobbied and worked with other leaders in law enforcement in Sacramento and Washington D.C. for funding for our department.

Undersheriff Macedo participated in and completed Calaveras Leadership. He is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He received recognition by the California State Assembly and the California State Senate for his efforts in combating crime and serving victims. Undersheriff Macedo authored several articles about behavioral health interactions, which are published in the California State Sheriff’s Association and FBI National Academy magazines.

Macedo was awarded the Sheriff’s Office Medal of Valor for his bravery and heroic actions during a hostage situation whereas the suspect had doused people with gasoline and was about to set the room on fire that included the suspect, hostages, and deputies.

Undersheriff Macedo is a long-time member of the California State Sheriff’s Association (CSSA) Seconds in Command. With this, he is a coordinator for the group and is seen by his peers as a leader. In 2017, Macedo won the CSSA “John Sully Second in Command of the Year Award.

Undersheriff Macedo is a graduate of the prestigious FBI National Academy and is currently the Sacramento Area representative and soon-to-be Vice President. With this, comes his involvement and participation in FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminars. He is a member of ATAP – Association of Threat Professionals. He is currently an instructor for the POST Management Course through the South Bay Regional Public Safety Training Consortium.

About the Author:

Captain Rachelle Whiting

Captain Rachelle Whiting is the Calaveras County Sheriff's Office Operations Bureau Commander. Over her 22 years with the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office, Captain Whiting has proven herself to be a fine leader who has received several awards and commendations from the Sheriff’s Office. They include Deputy Sheriff of the Year, Campaign Ribbons, Unit Citations, and Medals of Merit commendations. She will be promoted to the position of Calaveras County Undersheriff on October 8th, 2022. 

Editor's Note:

First, I want to congratulate Captain Whiting on her promotion. She's a fine officer and has worked hard to earn it. I really believe she deserves it.  

As for Undersheriff Jim Macedo, his actual date of retirement is October 7th, 2022. As a Volunteer at the Sheriff's Office, I have to say that I feel very privileged to have been there when the Sheriff’s Office wished him a very fond farewell at a small going away party. Congratulating him on his retirement, and then being part of those escorting him home, hearing him radio in 10-10 for the last time after a 28-year career, all was a real honor.

During his party, I enjoyed meeting some of the people who have known him for so many years. The fact is, that unlike most there, I've only known Undersheriff Macedo for a very short time. But, even though that's the case, during the short time that I've known him, he has always impressed me. And frankly, that's really saying a lot -- especially since most people stopped impressing me long ago. 

From what I know of him, he is a good man. He treasures his family and he's a man of good character in a world starving for such men. Since he's an old fashion, honest, brave, no-nonsense sort of lawman, I see him as a great American with true Cowboy values of courage, optimism, and hard work. Frankly, as for being one of the most well-rounded people I've ever met, I really believe he sets a great example of being a good role model for others.

As for him being very professional and still personable, he garners the respect and cooperation of others through his excellent leadership style.  This also extends to his understanding of people. I believe he is one of those rare individuals who is both street-smart and extremely intelligent while also having a wonderful ability to read people correctly. While those are all great attributes for anyone to have, they are especially important for a career law enforcement officer. 

So yes my friends, that's why I have so much admiration for Undersheriff Macedo. That's why I asked Captain Whiting if she would give me permission to print her story about him here on my blog. That's why I'm glad she did. And that's why I wish Undersheriff Macedo all the best.  

Tom Correa

Saturday, October 1, 2022

The Terror That Was The Bremen School Shooting

The Bremen School Shooting took place at approximately 11:00 a.m., when a shooter entered St. Mary's Catholic School, carrying a briefcase packed with ten handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. The killer's name was Heinz Schmidt. He was 29 years old. 

Reports of what took place say that after entering the school, he met up with teacher Marie Pohl in the hallway on the first floor. Pohl had just stepped out of her class when she encountered Schmidt. Pohl questioned Schmidt about what he was doing there. She knew Schmidt because he was also a teacher at that school before being recently fired. Schmidt shot at her. He barely missed shooting her in the head.

In a panic, Pohl runs into a nearby classroom. At the same time, Schmidt entered the classroom that Pohl initially came out of. In that classroom, he came into contact with 65 students, all girls between 6 and 7 years old. He immediately began opening fire at the children. 

The frightened children didn't know where to run so they hid under their tables. That didn't stop Schmidt from instantly killing two of them and wounding another. And when the children tried to run out of the classroom, Schmidt followed them. 

Shooting at them as pursued them, one girl is said to have fallen down some stairs and actually broke her neck and died. He then tried to enter another classroom but found the door locked. Inside, a quick-thinking teacher realized what was taking place and locked herself and her class in. 

At some point, a janitor appeared and tried to subdue Schmidt. He shot at the school janitor, hitting him in the face. Schmidt then tried going up some stairs but was tackled by a teacher. Sadly, Schmidt broke free and shot that teacher in his stomach and shoulder. After that, Schmidt started shooting out a window at children in a schoolyard. He shot five boys. Right after that, teachers, school employees, and the janitor, all rushed and finally subdued Schmidt.
When Schmidt was led away by police, an angry group of parents met the police outside. The police were outnumbered as they beat up Schmidt. The crowd of angry citizens then attempted to lynch Schmidt. It was only because the police managed to hold back the mob that Schmidt wasn't lynched on the spot. 

The 29-year-old killer indiscriminately shot at students and teachers alike, actually killing five girls and wounding more than 20 others children and staff. Heinz Jakob Friedrich Ernst Schmidt was in fact a recently fired teacher at the school. The unemployed teacher was never tried for the crime and was instead sent directly to an insane asylum where he died almost 20 years later of tuberculosis.

The Bremen School Shooting took place on June 20th, 1913, at St Mary's Catholic School in Bremen, Germany. Which of course proves such heinous acts are also nothing new to Europe.

Tom Correa