THREE ROBBERS BITE THE DUSTTragic Sequel to a Bank Raid at Meeker, Colorado.
The Bandits Obtain About $1000, but Fail to Get Away With It.HOT FIGHT WITH CITIZENS.Three of the Latter Wounded--Over a Hundred Shots Fired During the Battle.MEEKER, Colo., Oct. 14.--One of the most desperate battles was fought on the streets of this town to-day between the men who robbed the Bank of Meeker and the citizens, and to-night three robbers lie on cooling-boards in the morgue and three citizens are found to have been wounded by the thieves before the latter bit the dust. The dead are: George Harris, Charles Jones and William Smith.Without doubt it is the most daring crime in the history of this section of the country, which for a long time has been the center of storms, of Indian wars and exciting events, and the battle of to-day is the most remarkable.The robbers entered the town from the north, mounted, and proceeded to the bank without any attempt at concealment of themselves. The bank is located in a general store, one of the largest of the trading houses in this section of the country. They stepped quickly into the room, two of them remaining in the center of it while one of them approached the bank window, where the cashier was engaged in conversation with a depositor, and brushing the latter aside thrust a revolver in his face.The man dodged, and the sound of a pistol shot caused the cashier to raise his hands. Then the two men in the center of the store commanded everybody to hold up their hands or die. Nobody wanted to die.Cashier Moulton then opened the doors of the safe at the point of the revolver, and the contents of the strong box were removed, after which the robbers took all the firearms in the possession of the men in the store and left by a rear door, where they had hitched their horses.But the robbers had miscalculated. They forgot the kind of stuff the people of Meeker are made of, and as they stepped through the door it was to find that the building had been surrounded by the townspeople, who were aroused by the shots, and the alternative of surrendering or fighting it out was presented to them. They raised their revolvers and commenced to fire immediately. Then commenced one of the most desperate of battles. Bullets cut the air, penetrated the buildings and hailed through the crowd. It is a wonder that more men were not killed. But the robbers were surrounded; they had fired the first shot and had to accept the consequences of their folly.The first shot of the fusillade was fired at Deputy Sheriff William Clark. The bank officers and those in the store broke for cover. Guns were distributed among them, and the robbers, finding themselves alone, opened fire, shooting at everybody in sight. The people of the town commenced their work, and in less time than it takes to tell it about 100 shots were fired and three men fell to the ground.The robbers fell defiant and firing Two of them died in an instant, their skulls split, their hearts and their bodies penetrated by rifle balls. One of the men, who gave his name as Harris, lived for an hour and gave the names of his pals as stated above. The names are undoubtedly assumed, but the man who gave his name as Harris died with the secret of their identity, loyal to the last to his partners in crime.Jones and Harris were literally riddled with bullets, and that Harris lived so long is remarkable. There were perhaps 100 men in the vicinity of the place at the time, but the wounds received were slight.The robbers managed to empty their revolvers, putting up one of the gamest fights ever recorded in criminal annals.The money, less than $1000, was recovered. The men were not known. They were never seen in these parts before. Smith was about 20, and the others about 30. They were magnificent specimens of physical manhood. Where they came from, and what they were previous to coming, is a mystery. Charles Jones, the leader, was a typical specimen of a rough frontiersman, and, from his make up, just the sort of a man who would embark in such a daring exploit. The robbery was well planned. The men, by their actions, showed themselves to be old hands at the business, and they would have escaped with the money which they secured had it not been for the fact that they fired the first shot in the bank, thus giving the alarm which resulted in their being cornered and shot to death.Several men were wounded, but so slightly as not to be of consequence.[The San Francisco Call, San Francisco, Thursday Morning, October 15, 1896. Volu[m]e MLXXX.--No. 137. Pg. 1]