Richland Co., Ohio


Historical Information

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Shelby Shooting, 1910

source:  The Mansfield News, Saturday, 4 August 1910, p2


Submitted by Laurie H.

SHOOTING AT SHELBY -- Harley May While Crazed Buys a Revolver and Ammunition and Starts Out to Shoot Up the Town. BEGINS IN SALOON - Misses the Bartender, but Manages to Put Two Bullets into George Kline Who Was There -- KLINE FALL TO THE FLOOR -- Ex-Football Player Then Reloads His Weapon And Goes Out Upon The Street After More Victims -- POLICEMEN SHAW WAS NEXT -- Officer Who Was Unaware of Shooting Done In Spangler's Place WAS Talking With Citizen -- MAY SAID HE'D BE TAKEN DEAD. --  When Officer Shaw Attempted to Arrest Him May Shot Him in the Breast -- The Ball Was Fired So Closely That Shaw's Shirt Took Fire -- Policeman Gates Rounds Up the Man After He Had Again Reloaded But He Shoots the Thumb Off This Officer Who Serves May's Jugular Vein With a Ball From His Weapon --  All Wounded Men Will Recover Unless Blood Poisoning Should Set In -- An Exciting Afternoon for Shelby

Shelby had a sensation of large sized proportions Friday afternoon when Harley May, the time star of Shelby's professional football team, went mad and ran through the streets with a revolver, defying arrest by police officers and shooting at random. May seriously wounded three men with his pistol and had scores of citizens in terror of their lives. Policeman Jacob Gates, who is well known in Mansfield, in an effort to arrest the crazed man, engaged in a pistol duel with him. And after May had fired several times at the officer and shot off his left thumb, Officer Gates fired mortally wounding the man. The bullet from the officer's revolver severed the jugular vein, plowed upward and passed out of the skull an inch above the left eye. May fell mortally wounded, but with his waning strength, fired a fourth time at the officer. The lead flew wild. May lost consciousness and died within thirty minutes.

"I knew Harley would kill himself someday," said George May, father of the former football player. Friends of the parent in telling him of the shooting had withheld the facts. The father knew only that his boy was in trouble. He divined that his son was dead. "When Harley's skull was crushed in a football game three years ago, he was out of his head a month," Mr. May continues. "The doctor told me the injury might affect the boy's mind some time." It was not until tonight that the farther learned all the details of
the tragedy in which his son was the central figure.  Harley May was employed at the plant of the Ohio Seamless Tube Company.  Friday morning he drew his pay for the week. He started to drink. At Stephen Spangler's saloon he quarreled with Andrew Glasgow. George Gates, son of the man destined to end the trouble which then began, ordered May to leave the place. May departed, threatening to kill Gates when he returned. 

From the saloon May went to the hardware store of Sutter & Rousch. There he purchased a revolver, informing the clerk that one of his father's livery horses had been injured and would have to be shot. Loading the revolver as he walked, he returned to Spangler's saloon. Upon entering, he "covered" Gates with the weapon. "I'm going to shoot," he warned. "You shoot and the
undertaker'll get you instead of me," replied Gates. May Fired, but the bullet missed Gates.

With the opening of the revolver play, May's insanity was wholly revealed.   His actions at first had been attributed to drunkenness. As the bullets flew about the barroom patrons stampeded. Some fled through doorways, others plunged from windows. May fired five times. Backing toward the front entrance he continued to flourish his revolver as he reloaded it. Without a
word he turned and left.

In one corner of the saloon George Kline was lying. Two of May's five bullets had penetrated one of his shoulders. One piece of lead had lodged in a lung cavity. May's first victim was hastened to the office of a physician who extracted one of the bullets.

When May quit the saloon, he walked one block east. There he met Policeman W. D. Shaw, who was engaged in conversation with W. D. Hanna, city clerk.  The officer was unaware of the shooting in Spangler's saloon. "If they ever capture me, they'll take me dead," yelled May. Apparently he addressed Mack Esterline who was passing. Then May drew his revolver and fired two shots up an alley. Policeman Shaw reached out to grab him, whereupon May turned and fired point blank at the officer. The bullet entered the patrolman's breast and lodged near the spine. A second time he fired at the officer, but missed. Shaw sank to the pavement, his clothing afire. His shirt had ignited from the flash of the pistol. As May ran, city clerk Hanna extended aid to
the officer. The flames were extinguished by a bystander.

After running a block, May stopped and reloaded his revolver, (while) defying all to come and take him. Then he resumed his flight, going into the home of Mrs. Gus Reidel, his aunt. The house is about four squares from the place where May shot Shaw. "Hide me or they'll lynch me," he cried to Mrs. Reidel. The woman, frightened at May's appearance, grasped her two children
by the hands and fled. May then was alone in the dwelling.  As Mrs. Reidel left the residence, Police Gates came to the door. "Come out Harley," he called. May answered with a shot. The bullet went through the screen door, passing a few inches from the patrolman's head. At the second shot from May, Gates drew his revolver. "Drop your gun," called Gates, as he leveled his weapon. May failed to head the admonition. He fired a third time, shooting away one of the officer's thumbs. Then Gates fired his only shot. May fell, but fired as he sank. The policeman called the physicians, but May's wound was mortal.


Information from Shelby, Saturday afternoon, is to the effect that the town had quieted down since that shooting there Friday afternoon in which three men were wounded and one killed. Harley May, the man who shot three men and was himself shot by Policeman Jacob Gates, died within thirty minutes after the shooting. The bullet from Officer Gates' revolver cut the jugular vein
of May and he bled to death. The officer was armed with a 38 caliber revolver.

An examination of George Kline, the man who was shot in the Spangler saloon showed that he had been shot twice. The one bullet struck him on the shoulder merely inflicting a flesh wound and glanced off his person. The second bullet went into his shoulder blade and is imbedded there but doctors were unable to locate it exactly. They decided that it might be removed by a
dangerous operation, but it was thought better not to attempt to it out and it will be left there. If no foreign substance has been carried into the wound, he will recover. However there is always the chance of poisoning.

One of the bullets from May's pistol took off the thumb of Officer Gate's pistol hand about the same time the policeman brought him down with a ball through the neck. Officer W. D. Shaw received a bullet in his chest at the right nipple. this bullet passed entirely around his body and was found imbedded in the flesh of the back about an inch or two under the surface. It
was cut Saturday morning by a surgeon. The fact that Officer Shaw did not have an internal hemorrhage indicates that the bullet did not go through his body. Whether any other substance was carried into the wound and left at some point along the track of the bullet is not known. If nothing was taken into this wound Shaw will easily recover according to the doctors. Shaw is a
married man, while Kline is a single man. Harley May will be buried at 10 o'clock Monday morning from the home of his aunt, Mrs. Reidel.

The Mansfield News, Monday, 8 August 1910

Coroner Maglott went to Shelby this afternoon to make further investigation into the death of Harley May, who was shot by an officer following his wounding of several persons Friday afternoon.

The Mansfield News, Tuesday, 9 August 1910

SUICIDE THEORY IS NOT TENABLE -- In the Case of Harley May, According to Belief of Coroner Maglott Who Conducted Inquest Monday Afternoon.

While in Shelby Monday afternoon, Coroner Maglott investigated the death of Harley May along the line of whether the bullet wound that caused his death might have been produced by the weapon in the hands of Officer Fates.  I was at first generally accepted that the single bullet that Gates fired at young May caused the boy's death, but certain circumstances in connection
with the shooting later resulting in an idea that possibly May had turned his revolver on himself and ended his own life. The witnesses who testified before the coroner at the inquest conducted Monday afternoon were as follows: George Gates, Jacob Gates, Andy Glasgow, H. F. Jordan, Dr. W. A. Smith.

Officer gates states that May fired four shots after he appeared at the door and only three of the bullets have been found. Three of them went out the door of the Reidel home and it is only a matter of good fortune that Mrs. Burgess or Miss Notacker were not killed as they live in the residence just south of the Reidel home and the three bullets which May fired out of the door at Officer Gates embedded themselves in the Burgess house. One of the women was standing in the door at the time one of the bullets lodged in the door casing. It was only about one foot from claiming another victim. The fourth bullet cannot be found and it is possible that May, instead of firing the fourth bullet at the officer, turned the gun upon himself and fired it into his neck causing his death.

Officer Gates says that it was rather dark in the house and he did not have any idea that he was hitting May when he shot. The fellow had fired at him three times and had taken off his thumb. He thought that if he shot once it might frighten May and he would give up. With this idea he pulled the trigger, holding the revolver of course pointed in May's direction.

Coroner Maglott said Tuesday that he was convinced that the shot that killed young May was not self-inflicted as there were no powder marks about his face and the direction taken by the bullet precluded the possibly of his having fired the shot. The size of the bullet hole also indicated that the bullet was larger than a 32 caliber, the revolver used by May having been a 32, and that used by Officer Gates a 38 caliber. In order to be sure on this point, the coroner instructed the undertaker (G. K. Sutter) to secure the bullet, which had not been removed from the young man's head.  The funeral of the May boy was held Monday, having been conducted from the home by the Rev. O J. Coby, pastor of the Methodist church. The body was placed in the receiving vault at the Oakland cemetery as word was received that the boy's mother will arrive in Shelby Wednesday of this week.

The Mansfield News, 23 August 1910

Coroner Maglott has filed his findings in the inquest conducted over the body of Harley May, the Shelby young man who was shot by Officer Gates in Shelby on August 5. The corner found that the young man came to his death by having been killed by the discharge of a revolver held in the hand of Jacob Gates, in the act of self defense, while in the discharge of his duty. A contributing cause is found to have been a frenzied condition on the part of the deceased, supposed to have been due to an injury to the head sustained some three or four years ago.

The Mansfield News, Saturday, 10 September 1910, p3

BILL OF EXPENSE FOR RICHLAND CO. -- What it Cost the taxpayers to Keep Things Going for the Month of August 1910. -- The following bill shave been allowed by Richland county commissioner at their session for September, 1910:

John Maglott, fees in Mike Bejta case 12.86
Same, fees in Harley May case 14.43
Same, fees in James L. Orr case 7.95
Same, fees in Jacob Stoir case 6.54
Harvey Maglott, constable fees 2.90
Charles Huber, constable fees 3.35
G.K. Sutter, constable fees 1.60
Wm. A. Remy, constable fees 1.85
J. G. Strickenberg, witness fees 1.00
William Foy, witness fees 1.00
Jacob Shafer, witness fees 1.00
Tod Heyser, witness fees 1.00
Jacob Gates, witness fees 1.00
George Gates, witness fees, (May) 1.00
H. E. Jordan, witness fees, (May) 1.00
W. A. Smith, witness fees, (May) 1.00
A. M. Smith, witness fees, (May) 1.00
A. M. Zebold, witness fees, (May) 1.00
W. D. Hanna, witness fees, (May) 1.00
M. M. Esterline, witness fees, (May) 1.00
A. M. Glaslow, witness fees, (May) 1.00
A. M. Glaslow, witness fees, (May) 1.00
John W. Orr, witness fees (Orr) 1.00
Ed D. Hoffer, witness fees, (Orr) 1.00
Clarence C. Overly, witness fees (Orr) 1.00
L. J. McLaughlin, witness fees, (Orr) 1.00
Charles Arto, witness fees, (Orr) 1.00
Charles Roetz, witness fees, (Orr) 1.00

Material Resources:

1. The Mansfield News : 6 Aug 1910, p2; 8 Aug 1910; 9 Aug 1910; 23 Aug 1910; 10 Sep 1910; 31 Dec 1910 (A Timeline of Newsworthy Events of 1910).
2. The Elyria Republican : 11 August 1910, p8 (reprint of The Mansfield News article dated 6 Aug 1910)

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