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Just a Bit of Gunplay
The Daily News, Denver, 12 January 1904


John E. Bell's Presence in the
Anthony Home, Police Say
Dispels Story of Would-Be

Evidence of Persons in the House,
Together With Statements of
Neighbors, Supports Story of a
Bid for Some Notoriety.

The mystery of the shots fired in the door of Mrs. Lionel Ross Anthony's residence is solved so far as the police department is concerned.

It is the opinion of all the officers who have worked on the case that the shooting was done by Mrs. Anthony's guest, John E. Bell. Just what motive prompted Bell to fire two bullets from his ever-ready "forty-five" into "Polly Pry's" reception room furniture is still a matter of speculation, but it is generally supposed htat it was part of a scheme to secure some sensational advertising for the Polly Pry magazine, which Mrs. Anthony publishes, and to arouse a sentimental sympathy for her.

Others maintain that the shooting was not premeditated, but was an impromptu prank of John E. Bell.

In crediting the shooting to Bell, the detectives make their deductions:

How Detectives View Shooting.

A little more than an hour before the shooting, Bell called at the police station to secure his revolver, which Patrol Wagon Driver James Cummings had taken from him the night before while Bell was on a "tear." The shots fired into Mrs. Anthony's furniture were from a 45-caliber revolver.

Directly after the shooting, when several of Mrs. Anthony's friends ran to her assistance, the reception room of her house was filled with a blinding smoke than ten minutes later, when John Corbett, who lives across the street, in xx Veta place, and who was the first outsider admitted to the house after the shooting, arrived the smoke was still thick, and twenty minutes later, when Sergeant Frank Kratke and Detectives White and Arnett arrived the room was still full of smoke. Such a condition could not have exited, the officers say. had the man who fired the shots stood out on the porch and shot through an opening of eighteen inches as Mrs. Anthony declares.

The shooting was done at an hour when there were a number of pedestrians in the immediate neighborhood and none of them saw the would-be assassin running away. The occupants of the houses on both sides of the street were alert at the time, and hearing the shots and screams from the Anthony residence, threw open their windows and looked out upon the brightly lighted street, but no one saw a suspicious character.

Stories Conflicting.

Going still further, the detectives assert that Mrs. Anthony and her brother, Roy Campbell, who was in the house at the time, have made contradictory statements regarding the shooting. To Sergeant Kratke, Mrs. Anthony said she took the precaution to shield herself by standing behind the door when she opened it. To Detective Arnett she said she stood directly in the threshold when she first opened the door, but on second thought, fearing some act of violence, she stepped around behind the door. Both Mrs. Anthony and her brother, Roy Campbell, stated in an interview that Campbell had hurried down stairs, pistol in hand, when he heard the shots and ran out into the street to pursue the murderous stranger, but the facts as gleaned by the detectives are, that Campbell or no one else left the house after the shots were fired.

The bullet marks on the desk and lounge in Mrs. Anthony's reception room are such that they could have been fired through the open door, but if the shooter had stood just inside the door the course of his bullets would still have been identical.

Continuing from this point the detectives dissect the facts as related by Mrs. Anthony, Roy Campbell, John E. Bell, John Wayne, J. Walling, Miss Frances Benson and others, who were in the house at the time.

The guests at the Anthony home Sunday evening were all in a room on the seconed floor except Miss Benson, who had retired shortly after 7 o'clock. Mr. Wayne, who was accompanied by his wife, was relating an anecdote, when Mrs. Anthony and Bell went down stairs. Bell had been out "having a time" the night before, and was feeling badly, and Mrs. Anthony had volunteered to fix him a "bracer."

They had been down stairs about ten minutes when there were two deafening reports. Miss Benson has since said she thought there had been a dynamite explosion in the house, so thundering were the reports, and to this the police append that if the shots had been fired on the outside of the house the noise would not have been of that character nor so great. No one in the house heard the door bell ring except Mrs. Anthony and Bell.

John Wayne told the first detectives to the house that he was the first one down stairs after the shooting, and that the room was then so full of smoke that he thought the place was on fire. The front door was also shut.

Commenting on this, the detectives say that the shots were not fired from outside the door through an opening eighteen inches wide. Had such been the case the smoke would have been wafted away.

It is also related that when the first officers arrived Mrs. Anthony was not a bit nervous or excited, but as more people came in and questioned and talked to her, she became more and more agitated.

Mrs. Anthony told the officers at first that the man who shot at her was about six feet tall, with a dark mustache and a black derby hat. In fact, he answered much the description of John L. Gehr, one of the leaders of the United Mine Workers of America.

H. H. Tammen, who called on Mrs. Anthony shortly after the shooting, wanted Detectives White and Arnett to arrest Gehr, promising to see that the man was prosecuted if they did, but the officers refused to do so, stating there was nothing to connect him with the shooting. Later Mrs. Anthony said it was impossible for her to convey any idea as to the appearance of her assailant.

Mrs. Hattie Fox, who owns the house in which Mrs. Anthony lives, did not receive a threatening letter, as has been stated. The only foundation for the report is that at a recent dinner party one of the guests said to her, presumably in jest, that she had better get Mrs. Anthony out of the house or it would be blown up.

Questioned by Detectives White and Arnett and by reporters, Mrs. Fox said she ran to her window on hearing the noise but saw nobody running away. Every house in the neighborhood was canvassed but no one could be located who saw a man run from Mrs. Anthony's porch after the shots were fired.

The alleged attempt to assassinate Mrs. Anthony was made about 8 o'clock Sunday night. The door bell rang and she says she went to answer it. She had been in the butler's pantry at the rear of the first floor of her house making a hot toddy for her guest, John E. Bell, who had complained of feeling badly.

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