Thursday, March 20, 2008

Kids And Guns

Here are two stories from early in the last century, both involving children and guns. The first has an element of humor, while the second is pure tragedy.

Boston Daily Globe March 19, 1913

Asks To Be Kept In Cell.

Jamaica Plain Boy, Held in Shooting Case, Escapes From Juvenile Home but Police Send Him Back.

Preferring a cell in the Jamaica Plain police station to the comparative liberty of a juvenile home in Wellesley, Charles A. Burrows, 14 years old, of 37 School st, Jamaica Plain, who was held in $3000 bonds on a charge of assault with a loaded revolver on Carl G.A. Danielson of 41 School st, Jamaica Plain, made his escape from the institution yesterday afternoon.

The boy was arrested Saturday evening and spent Sunday in the Jamaica Plain Police Station, where he became friendly with the patrolmen. He was given in charge of the State Board of Charity Monday and was sent to the Wellesley institution.

After dinner yesterday he was allowed with the other children to play on the grounds of the home, and eluding an attendant he walked in upon his astonished parents just as they had finished the evening meal. He said he had no intention of escaping the authorities, but told them he did not like Wellesley and was perfectly willing to return to a cell in the Jamaica Plain Station.

Accompanied by his mother, he walked to the station house, where he greeted the patrolmen like old friends and went to a cell with a smile of satisfaction.

Hardly had he reached the cell when a telephone message from Headquarters was received ordering that the boy be sent at once to meet a representative of the Wellesley institution. He was accordingly taken back.

While Burrows and the other boys were playing "Wild West" at Franklin Park, Danielson was shot in the abdomen and is now lying at the City Hospital in serious condition. Burrows admitted he shot the lad with a 22-caliber revolver which he had bought that morning, but insisted it was accidental.

June 24, 1916

Absolve Hickox Of Myers' Death

Acquitted of Charge of Manslaughter

Accidentally Fired Revolver in Jamaica Plain Store

Officer Pulsifer, Its Owner, Breaks Down in Court

George HIckox, who fired the shot from a policeman's revolver which killed 14-year-old Kenneth T. Myers in a store at 95 Boylston st, Jamaica Plain, on the evening of June 16, was freed of the charge of manslaughter by Judge Perrins in the West Roxbury court yesterday.

Patrolman Pulsifer of the Jamaica Plain station, who owned the weapon, broke down and wept during his testimony. Especially was he affected when the revolver was handed to him for a demonstration of how he handed it to Hickox before the accidental shooting.

Pulsifer had been telling of the incidents leading to the accident when his gaze rested on his revolver. Then he put out his hand and, taking the weapon, lowered his head, unable to continue his testimony for two minutes.

Patrolman Pulsifer told of going into the store where Hickox was clerk, and the conversation in which he was asked his opinion about a new revolver the clerk had in the rear of the store. Hickox expressed surprise when told that it was worth about $1.50, and to explain the small value Pulsifer brought out his own revolver to show the greater grip.

A few seconds after Hickox received the officer's weapon there was an explosion from the revolver. Pulsifer testified that Hickox was startled by the shot and asked him (Pulsifer) if he was hit, and receiving a negative reply, asked young Myers the same question.

The lad also said no and started for the door of the store, but grew faint. The officer caught him before he fell, carried him to a table in the rear of the store and gave him a drink of water. The boy asked what the matter was and Pulsifer said he told him he had been frightened and fainted. He said Hickox was much upset and exclaimed "Why did I take that into my hand?"

Capt. Joseph Harriman of Station 13 told of first hearing of the shooting when informed by Medical Examiner McGrath, on the morning of June 17, of the bullet hole in the boy's body. Then Pulsifer and Hickox were sent for, and the officer's story was substantially that of his testimony on the stand.

Charl Schleich, aged 10, of 1 Jess st, who was in the store at the time of the shooting and was sent after a doctor, also testified, corroborating the facts as told by the principal witnesses.

Then Hickox went to the stand, and his story agreed with that of Pulsifer, that the shot was purely accidental.

Hickox was represented by Sewell C. Brackett, who argued that as his client had never fired a shot before in his life and was unfamiliar with firearms, his finger naturally went to the trigger, and in turning it over the shot was accidentally fired. Capt Harriman, who, with Inspector Greavey of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, conducted the prosecution, made no arguments.

Judge Perrins, in summing up, said that the case was one of the "didn't know it was loaded" variety, and that the whole affair was simply a regrettable incident. As far as had been shown, he stated, there was absolutely no malice or evil intent in the affair and he ordered HIckox freed.

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