this day in crime history: may 18, 1927


On this date in 1927, Bath, MI became the scene of the largest school mass-murder in U.S. history. The massacre began when school board member Andrew Kehoe became upset over an increase in the school tax that he blamed for his financial ruination.

Kehoe began by killing his wife and detonating fire bombs in his farm buildings. While firefighters worked to put out the fires on Kehoe’s property, Kehoe went to the Bath Consolidated School, where he detonated bombs he had previously planted in the school.

Kehoe left the scene after the explosion, but returned a short while later. He saw the school superintendent standing outside the school watching rescue and recovery efforts and called to him. As the superintendent approached the car, Kehoe detonated a bomb inside the car. The blast killed Kehoe, the superintendent, two local men, and an 8 year old boy who had managed to escape the school bombing.

The Bath School Disaster resulted in 45 dead and 58 injured. In 1975, a park dedicated to the victims was built on the former site of the school.

Further reading:

The Bath School Disaster

Wikipedia – Bath School Disaster 

Advertisements

this day in crime history: march 16, 1934


On this date in 1934, Herbert Youngblood, an accused murderer who escaped from the Lake County Jail in Crown Point, IN with John Dillinger, was killed in a shootout with police in Port Huron, MI. Undersheriff Charles Cavanaugh was also killed in the shootout, which left two lawmen and a civilian injured.

Further reading:

Time“Bad Man at Large”

Dillinger: The Untold Story, by G. Russell Girardin, William J. Helmer, and Rick Mattix

YOUNGBLOOD IS SLAIN IN BATTLE

this day in crime history: december 24, 1913

ItalianHall1913

On this date in 1913, striking copper miners and their families gathered for a Christmas party at the Italian Hall in Calumet, MI. The miners, who worked for the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company, were in the fifth month of their strike. At some point in the evening, someone yelled, “fire!” The party-goers — who numbered over four hundred — raced for the exits, which were insufficient to handle a mass evacuation of that size. Seventy-three people, including fifty-nine children, were killed in the ensuing panic. The person (or people) responsible for starting the panic, and the motive for starting it, were never discovered.

Further reading:

New York TimesX-mas Tree Panic Costs 80 Lives

Wikipedia – Italian Hall disaster

this day in crime history: november 29, 1933


On this date in 1933, the bound and mutilated body of outlaw Verne Miller was found just outside Detroit, MI. Miller, the chief suspect in the Kansas City Massacre, was a decorated World War I veteran and former lawman. After a short stint as sheriff of Beadle County, SD, Miller turned to a life of crime. He started out in bootlegging, then moved on to robbery. Eventually he wound up as a trigger man for organized crime. The list of people with motives to kill him was long, but Miller’s murder was never solved.

Further reading:

Wikipedia: Vernon C. Miller

FBI Famous Cases – Kansas City Massacre /”Pretty Boy” Floyd

Vern Miller—Sheriff, Moonshiner, Hit-man

Lawman to Outlaw: Verne Miller and the Kansas City Massacre, by Brad Smith

Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34, by Bryan Burrough

this day in crime history: march 16, 1934


On this date in 1934, Herbert Youngblood, an accused murderer who escaped from the Lake County Jail in Crown Point, IN with John Dillinger, was killed in a shootout with police in Port Huron, MI. Undersheriff Charles Cavanaugh was also killed in the shootout, which left two lawmen and a civilian injured.

Further reading:

Time“Bad Man at Large”

Dillinger: The Untold Story, by G. Russell Girardin, William J. Helmer, and Rick Mattix

YOUNGBLOOD IS SLAIN IN BATTLE

this day in crime history: december 24, 1913

ItalianHall1913

On this date in 1913, striking copper miners and their families gathered for a Christmas party at the Italian Hall in Calumet, MI. The miners, who worked for the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company, were in the fifth month of their strike. At some point in the evening, someone yelled, “fire!” The party-goers — who numbered over four hundred — raced for the exits, which were insufficient to handle a mass evacuation of that size. Seventy-three people, including fifty-nine children, were killed in the ensuing panic. The person (or people) responsible for starting the panic, and the motive for starting it, were never discovered.

Further reading:

New York TimesX-mas Tree Panic Costs 80 Lives

Wikipedia – Italian Hall disaster

this day in crime history: december 24, 1913

ItalianHall1913

On this date in 1913, striking copper miners and their families gathered for a Christmas party at the Italian Hall in Calumet, MI. The miners, who worked for the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company, were in the fifth month of their strike. At some point in the evening, someone yelled, “fire!” The party-goers — who numbered over four hundred — raced for the exits, which were insufficient to handle a mass evacuation of that size. Seventy-three people, including fifty-nine children, were killed in the ensuing panic. The person (or people) responsible for starting the panic, and the motive for starting it, were never discovered.

Further reading:

Marquette MonthlyDeath on Christmas Eve: The Italian Hall tragedy remembered

New York TimesX-mas Tree Panic Costs 80 Lives

Wikipedia – Italian Hall disaster