Mail Tribune 100, March 11, 1919

    News from 100 years ago

    The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago.

    March 11, 1919


    Harrison Riggs, well know orchard foreman, lies at the Medford sanitarium with a dangerous wound in the right shoulder from a bullet fired last night by Harold McDonald, the young deputy sheriff who is better known as Speed Cop McDonald whose special duties are to ferret out auto speed and liquor violations. Riggs had refused to stop his car at the command of McDonald, who fired six shots from his 30-caliber Colt revolver at the tires of the departing car, four of which penetrated the tonneau and one of which struck Riggs. The shooting occurred on the highway near the Three Oaks, or Hartzell orchard, about three miles south of the city. Riggs has a good chance for recovery, unless complications set in.

    McDonald who arrested an Italian from Portland whom he had trailed all the way from Dunsmuir, on the arrival of the north bound passenger train in Medford last evening, taking him from the train for having 11 quarts of whiskey in his possession, had just returned to police headquarters from locking the prisoner in the city prison.

    As he entered, a phone message came from the Three Oaks orchard asking that an officer be sent out to disperse some disorderly men in an auto in front of the orchard. McDonald left for the scene in a taxicab with M. L. Daily as driver. Arriving at the orchard they saw an auto containing several men just starting away and one man on the road in the rear of the auto.

    Halting the taxi McDonald jumped out, made a quick run and landed on the running board of the departing car. Showing his badge he demanded that the men stop the car. Instead, Riggs increased its speed. McDonald’s story of what followed is as follows:

    “The driver called me names and guiding the car with one hand attempted to strike me with a bottle of whiskey held in the other hand. I dodged the blow and then reached for his hand to seize the bottle, when he tossed it away from the car. Then he reached down under the seat, and I felt sure he was going to pull a gun on me. Seeing that the men were intoxicated I thought it best to jump off and did so. The car was then going at 15 miles an hour.

    “I landed on my feet, pulled my gun and began shooting at the fast disappearing car. I fired six shots in all at the rear tires, hoping to disable the machine and bring it to a stop, but the car kept going and I returned to my waiting taxi a couple of hundred yards in the rear. I never intended to shoot any one in the car and every shot was aimed at the two rear tires, but one of the shots was evidently aimed too high and hit Riggs. I am sincerely sorry I hit anyone, and certainly had no idea of doing so.”

    McDonald and Daily returned to the city shortly after the shooting.

    Riggs and his three companions drove at once to the home of a relative where a phone message was sent to Medford summoning Dr. E. H. Porter who hurried out, dressed the wound and brought Riggs back to the Medford sanitarium.

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