During the summer of 1944, the Southern Pacific Railroad in the City of Richmond, Calif. were experiencing a rash of boxcar burglaries. After repeated incidents the Richmond Police Department assigned their veteran night burglary inspector, Eddie Logan, to put a stop to them. A stakeout was in order, so the inspector set about conducting his lonely vigil.
Inspector Logan had been on the force since 1926, and was a slow but sure old-time cop. He was a mediocre pistol shot, and like the majority of police officers, had little interest in guns or shooting. For the past 15 years he reluctantly fired his bi-monthly revolver-training course of 30 rounds, fired at a bull’s-eye target with .38 Special wadcutters. He carried his old Smith & Wesson M&P 4″ .38 in a dilapidated Clark crossdraw holster. His old M&P had most of its blue worn off from years of use, and he kept it loaded with standard lead .38 Special Ammo.
His dark and lonely vigil finally paid off when, from the dark silence, he heard steel against steel, and the snap of what he thought was the boxcar seal being broken. Night sounds can be deceiving, as they had been on prior occasions. He moved cautiously from his perch on top a boxcar, toward the sound. The closer he got, the more muffled sounds he heard, and then the telltale sound of a boxcar door being slid open. By now he could hear whispering voices, and as he peered over the side of the boxcar, the burglars came into view. One man was boosting a second man up and into the boxcar who immediately started handing down cases of beer to the man on the ground.
At the sound of the inspector’s command, “Halt, police,” the men froze. The inspector couldn’t get his old flashlight on, so he hit it against the palm of his hand. The sound and flicker of light jolted the burglars into action. The number one man jumped from the boxcar on the run, and the man on the ground followed right behind him. A second verbal warning, “Police! Halt, or I’ll shoot,” fell on deaf ears.
“JUST AN AVERAGE SHOT FOR THE EVERYDAY FLATFOOT”
The two burglars were running away in tandem and strained to make good their escape. By this time Inspector Logan had drawn his .38 and fired one round at the fleeing felons. The single .38 Special bullet hit the trailing burglar in the right heel, completely penetrating it. The bullet then ricocheted off the ground and struck the leading man on the back of his head. Both men were knocked to the ground with the single bullet. Both men were arrested and cared for medically, and judicially. A closer look at the apprehending pistol shot deserves attention.
Inspector Logan was not noted for his skill with his revolver. He fired at two moving targets at an unknown distance in the dark. The single shot he fired hit both targets, proving decisive, but not fatal, in apprehending both burglars. Just unbelievable!
By David Smith