An Unfortunate Affair at Fullerton Which at the End is Amicably Adjusted.
Joe Lyons, the nineteen-year-old son of Isaac Lyons of Orangethorpe, shot and seriously wounded Morris Smith, son of W. J. Smith of the same place, at Fullerton at about half-past 9 o’clock on last Thursday morning. Lyons had driven in from his father’s ranch in a cart and awaited the coming of Smith on the sidewalk on Commonwealth avenue near Smith’s butcher shop. The latter shortly after arrived, coming up on horseback through the alley leading out on to Commonwealth avenue in rear of Stern and Goodman’s store. Friendly greetings passed as the two approached one another.
“Hello, Joe,” said Morris.
“Hello, Morris,” replied Joe.
As Morris was about to continue on his way toward his shop, Joe accosted him further:
“Say, Morris, you have ruined my sister.”
What words subsequently passed between them are in doubt, but Joe, who was standing with his hands in his overcoat pockets, sought to draw therefrom his pistol. The weapon caught in the lining of the pocket. Morris saw the handle of the weapon and putting spurs to his horse and leaning well over on the other side of the animal, galloped off down the avenue.
Joe succeeded instantly in disengaging his revolver, and leveling at Morris, fired when the latter’s horse had taken but a few paces. The shot entered the back of the left side, at the eighth rib, going upward and passing within an inch of the heart. An instant later he fired again, the ball striking the horse at the spine on the hip. The ball ploughed a ridge along the spine, and passed through Smith’s coat, doing no damage.
Smith rode down the avenue a block westerly, and halted some distance away and looked back to see what his antagonist was doing.
He saw Lyons engaged in unhitching his cart, which was tied in front of the butcher shop. Lyons climbed into the rig and lashed his horse to a gallop after Smith. The latter put spurs to his horse and galloped to the first turn in the road north. He turned the corner and rode rapidly northward. At the next turn east he galloped east a block and then turning south on Spadra road, urged his horse on toward his shop, near which the shooting had but a moment before occurred. Lyons was on his heels, having gradually gained upon him, and had it not been for Smith’s expert horsemanship and for his skill in turning the corners, Lyons would undoubtedly have fired at him again. The absence of an available target deterred the infuriated man from sending another bullet after the fleeing horseman.
Smith alighted hurriedly and ran upstairs to his room over the butcher shop. He seized his revolver and, not knowing that he had been hit, sought to go downstairs and defend his life with his gun.
A crowd quickly collected and prevented the young men from getting together. An employe at Smith’s butcher shop ran out with a cleaver and tried to get at Lyons and brain him.
The blood appearing on Smith’s clothes was to him the first apprisal of his injury.
He was taken upstairs and physicians called, and Lyons getting into his cart drove leisurely home. He told his father that he had shot Smith but “did not think he had done a good job.”
The old man was dumbfounded at the news. For some time past he had known of his daughter’s condition. She had been taken to the residence of an aunt in Los Angeles. Two months ago a physician had made an examination and then the worst was known. Joe was for arming himself With a shotgun and was about to strap a belt of cartridges upon him and going forth to do further bloody execution. His father restrained him. Soon Constable Pendergrast appeared and placed him under arrest.
The wildest sorts of reports were soon in circulation. One report had it that Smith was mortally wounded. One rumor was to the effect that he had been shot from in front while standing at the side of his horse, another that he had been wounded in the back and his intestines severed.
The doctors worked upon him and in the afternoon succeeded in extracting the bullet. The injury was found to be but a flesh wound and serious consequences were at no time feared.
Lyons found no difficulty in obtaining bonds, his father and Alex Gardiner qualifying upon his bond in the amount of $1,500. His preliminary examination was conducted before the Fullerton justice of the peace on Saturday. No testimony for the defense was introduced and he was bound over to appear before the Superior Court in $1,500 bail, on a charge of attempt to murder.
Saturday afternoon papers were served on Smith, charging him with rape, the young lady being under the age of consent.
A note from the parents of one of the interested parties which we received on Tuesday brings the intelligence that the unfortunate affair has been amicably adjusted by an agreement by both parties to be married.
Miss Eva Lyons came down from Los Angeles on Tuesday evening, and at 7 o’clock she was taken by her father and mother to Morris Smith’s room and quietly married to him. Only relatives of the couple were present.
The affair, which has involved the names of two of the most highly respected families in the county, is thus happily adjusted, and we hope it will furnish an exemplification of the old adage “All’s well that ends well.”
— from the Anaheim Weekly Gazette, October 28, 1897
( Brought to our attention by Allan Girdler of San Juan Capistrano, California )