Gunfire echoed and reechoed at the comer of Thirteenth and Main in Winfield, Kansas. It was a quiet Friday night, September 3,1920, and the moving picture show at the Regent Theater was about over. Police officer Dick Kreuger was dying.
The tragic action started when Elbert (Tip) Callison telephoned the police department from the Callison Hotel (northwest comer of Main and Thirteenth Streets).Officer Kreuger answered the telephone and Tip informed him that John Shoup was menacing Mrs. Jessie Yahn.
Mrs. Yahn later narrated Shoups actions leading up to the scene at Callisons.
I was going south on the east side of Main between Eleventh and Twelfth when a car drove up to the curb.A man in the car called, Jessie, come here. I answered Who are you? He replied You know well enough who it is.
I went up to the car and he told me his name was John Shoup. I knew him by sight, was all, but he knew me and called me by my first name.He told me to get in the car with him.I refused to do so, and started away. He ordered me to stop in a very preemptory fashion, and demanded that I get in the car.
I left him and went on south.When I was nearly to Thirteenth, he drove up to the curb again and shouted at me to stop, that he would get me if I did not, and ordered me to get into the car. I went up to the car and told him he was drinking and would get into trouble and that I would not go with him. He said, Ive been drinking all right, but I know what Im doing and saying. He caught me by the wrist and tried to drag me into the car. He told me he had a six shooter. I pulled away from him and walked on south. I crossed Main on the south side of Thirteenth and went west of Thirteenth.
I saw Shoup start up his car and go south on Main toward Fourteenth.I went about half a block west on Thirteenth. I was afraid he would head me off somewhere on Manning, so I turned back to Main.I saw Elbert Callison there and told him that Shoup was following me in his car.
While I was talking to Elbert Callison, Shoup drove back on Main, came over to the west side and stopped his car in front of Couchmans, the next door north of Callisons.Shoup got behind Couchmans and looked out at us. He stood with his right hand on his hip pocket.I told Elbert to go into the house as I was afi-aid Shoup would shoot him.I said I would go back on Thirteenth and try to dodge Shoup, and that he should call the police.
I went around the comer and got behind a car which was standing near the repair shop back there. I thought I could hide.Shoup came around the comer in his car and stopped a little west of the hotel. He got out and came to me again. He said he wanted me to go to his room, which he said was ten hundred and something on Manning. Ten-fourteen, I think he said. I refused and told him to go away.
While we were talking he stood with his hand on his hip pocket all the time.He said, I want to get a man. I dont care who it is. Ill get the first one that comes. He saw Elbert standing on the steps and said to him, You get inside. Ill get you if you dont.Elbert went in to phone for the police and Shoup said to me, I know that fellow, and Ill get him later.
I walked away from him again, toward Main. He got in his car and began to back up. As I turned the comer into Main, I saw the police car stop in front of the hotel.The police got out and started on the run for Shoups car.I ran to Couchmans and as I got there I heard the shooting begin.
Tip Callison stated that Mrs. Yahn had come up Thirteenth and onto Main at the corner. Seeing Tip sitting on the hotel steps, Mrs. Yahn approached him and said that Shoup was following her in his car. The car was then on the east side of Main, north of Thirteenth. Mr. Callison stated that Shoup made a U turn and crossed to the west side where Shoup parked in front of Couchmans, just north of Callisons, and got out of the car.Shoup then hid behind Couchmans house and watched Callison and Mrs. Yahn for a short time.
Mrs. Yahn went back around the corner into Thirteenth. Tip went through the office to the back door in order to see what was going on. He said Mrs. Yahn had walked a short distance, toward the alley, back to where a truck had been backed up to Taylors repair shop, and crouched down as ifto hide.Shoup turned his car into Thirteenth and went as far as the truck. There Shoup got out and began talking to the woman.
Shoup noticed Mr. Callison on the steps and said threateningly, You get back into the house. Youre not in this.Mr. Callison retreated into the hotel and telephoned for the police.Tip Callison reported later that it was not over a minute from the time he telephoned until the officers arrived in their car.
The officers (Dick Kreuger and George Nichols) stopped in front of the hotel and got out. Mrs. Yahn and John Shoup separated and she walked back around the comer of the Callison Hotel. Shoup got back in his car and backed it nearly to Main.
Officer Nichols reported Dick and I went over to Shoups car that was close to the comer of the south side of Thirteenth, backed slantwise to the curb, the front to the northwest.I got up on the running board and leaned over to see who was in the car.Whats going on here? I asked. The man responded, Hello, George. Just then Dick pushed up aside me and said, Move over. I did so to give him room on the running board.
The person in the car said: Hello, Dick. Then he made a reach for the gun that was on the seat beside him, Dick and I jumped back and reached for our guns, but the man beat us to it. He fired his automatic very fast.At the first shot Dick slapped his hand up to his breast and staggered. He lurched sideways first, then went backwards.He went back thirty or forty feet before he fell.
I tried to fire my gun but it did not fire at first. It must have stuck.I jumped around back of the car and onto the south side.While doing this, I worked my gun again and threw in a cartridge. Then I fired.Shoup stepped on the gas and went west. I was shot in the hand sometime during the fight but do not remember just when it was.
The doctor came and dressed my wound in the hotel office. I then went back to the police office and awaited developments.A man came in and said Shoup had wrecked his car at a culvert near the Jarvis place west of town.I found Lotus Day close by and he arranged to go out and get Shoup.
The wound that caused Kreugers death was in his right temple, about an inch back of the comer of the eye and an inch and a half above it.It was the clean round hole of a thirty-two caliber bullet.The bullet lodged in the brain.Another bullet struck Kreugers left hand near the second joint of the fore finger.It ripped along the hand and came out on top of the arm a few inches above the wrist joint.A third wound was in the left leg about halfway between the knee and ankle, ranging through from right to rear.The fourth was on the inside of the right thigh, a wound of no serious nature.
The next chapter of the story of this bloody night was related by Mr. W. A. Gidney, who lived on the Martin Jarvis farm two miles west of Winfield.Mr. Jarvis had been at the farm in the early part of the evening and was on the road home when he met a car running at high speed. Mr. Jarvis had to take to the side of the road to avoid a collision.
Mr. Gidney gave the following account.I had barely gotten inside the house after Mr. Jarvis left before I heard a car coming west. From the sound I figured it must be going forty miles an hour. When I heard it coming I thought it was somebody trying to get home ahead of the rain.It passed the house and in a few seconds I heard a crash.I knew the car had smashed into something.
Mrs. Gidney said she thought she could see a man standing by the car that was by the first culvert west of the house.I got in my car and drove down there. When I got close, I could make out no one about the wreck. I turned my car so the light shone on the wrecked car. It had run astride of the concrete guard rail on one side and was badly smashed.Nobody appeared to be about. There was a box of cartridges on the running board.That showed me that the driver had loaded or tried to load a gun after the accident.
Presently a man called out, Dont shoot, George, Ill give up. I asked him what he meant by give up, and he said the officers would get him. By that I knew there had been some trouble, and not knowing but what I might get shot, I went back to the house and tried to phone in to the police. The phone did not work, so I got in the car and came to town.I stopped at the police station and Policeman Nichols got Lotus Day. We then got in my car and went back to the wreck.
We found that the man had crawled a short distance.He had thrown
his pistol away, but we
found it. It had a cartridge shell jammed in it.It looked like he had tried to reload and could not get the jam loose.Seemed like he had intended to fight as long as he could.Ive an idea that if his pistol had been working he would have shot me, thinking I was an officer. He seemed to think I was Nichols when he said Dont shoot, George.
When we found him, he was still pretty soggy with booze.He did not seem to know much of what had happened.He had lost a lot of blood in the car.We found two bottles labeled Apple juice and one labeled Vanilla when we looked over his car.
Richard D. Kreuger was born in New York City July 17,1873. He had lived in Winfield about twenty-five years.For twenty years of that time he had been a police officer, usually a night man. He was considered one of the best officers the city ever had.He was regarded as fearless without being reckless, and though he had arrested hundreds, he rarely was known to show a weapon. He left a wife and four children, Richard, Paul, Lela, and Alma.The oldest at the time of his death was about nineteen, the youngest twelve.The funeral was held at the Episcopal Church under the direction of Durrin and Swisher Funeral Home.
John Shoup, an area resident all his life, was twenty-five when the shooting of Dick Kreuger took place.He was a thresher-man and machinist. When not under the influence of liquor, he was a very quiet and well behaved man.His wifes death on July 19, just six weeks before the murder, could have been a factor in his deranged behavior.
John Shoup died September 14, 1920, of his injuries.