Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Streetcar shooting

It happened somewhere near Tuam and Albany streets.

On March, 11, 1918, a person the Houston Post described as a "demented negro" reportedly shot two men during an altercation on a streetcar.

The suspect, W.H. Thompson, believed the car's conductor, R.N. Wells, was trying to sprinkle "hoodoo" powder on him.

The trouble started when the man tried to leave the streetcar before it came to a stop. When the conductor objected, the man replied, "You can't work no spells on me."

By this time, the streetcar was at Taft and Fairview, the Post reported.

A few blocks later, near Tuam and Albany, the man fired a gun at Wells, striking him in the shoulder.

Wells jumped from the streetcar. At the same time, an outbound streetcar also came to a stop at the intersection.

George Wilson, an engineer at the Home of the Good Shepherd, was a passenger on the outbound car. When he and all the other passengers learned what was going on, he chased Thompson. During that time, Thompson fired again, striking Wilson in the shoulder.

As a mob of passengers gave chase, Thompson was able to flee into a home on Whitney Street, where he called police and surrendered.

Hearing gunfire, many residents in the area came out armed with weapons as well.

Both Wells and Wilson were taken to St. Joseph's Infirmary and treated for minor injuries.

Thompson, who had been tried about a year earlier for attempting to assault a woman in the 200 block of Hathaway (now Westheimer), was arrested and charged with two counts of assault to murder.

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