Wrist Wound Kills Officer Boone

St. Louis Police Officer Lee A. Boone’s death on May 16, 1893 resulted from a minor gunshot wound to the wrist suffered three days earlier.  Officer Boone’s case demonstrates both the advances of modern medicine and modern forensics.

Officer Boone was patrolling around 1:45 am in the vicinity of St. Louis’ House of Refugee, where the mentally ill were housed.  Surprised to see a man prowling outside the grounds so early, Officer Boone called the man over to him.  Instead, the man took off running.


Early St. Louis Police Badge from the Public Domain

Officer Boone was a Mounted Officer.  He spurred his horse in the direction of the man, who turned and fired at Officer Boone.  The bullet grazed his wrist.  Officer Boone fired four shots back at his assailant but didn’t know if he hit him.

Officer Boone was treated by a Dr. Curtis but the wound was considered minor.  However, the second day found the wound severly inflamed and Officer Boone in terrible pain.

After suffering Sunday and Monday, Officer Boone died from blood poisoning on Tuesday, May 16, 1893 around 10:30 pm.  He was 50 years old and had been a police officer since 1880.

While the police initially didn’t have any suspects, in June 1893, they arrested Louis Anholt for burglary in the same neighborhood, where Officer Boone was killed.  Anholt was carrying a revolver with spent cartridges.  The revolver was the same caliber as the gun, which shot Officer Boone.

Police made several inquiries into Anholt’s activities.  Anholt was recently paroled from a previous burglary sentence.  Anholt was seen in the area of the House of Refuge both before and after Officer Boone’s wounding.

St. Louis Police were convinced Anholt was responsible.  Without either a confension or forensics to link the gun to the murder, the police were unable to charge Anholt.  However, he was convicted of burglary in July 1893 and sent back to prison.

If Officer Boone were shot today, modern medicine would be able to treat his blood poisoning.  Anholt’s gun could also be tested with modern forensics.  If Anholt’s gun had been used on Officer Boone, he would be charged with attempted murder because Boone would normally not pass from such a minor wound.

Officer Boone’s widow would eventually receive his police pension.  There was some doubt that she could receive the pension because she had received $1,200 dollars from the Police Relief Fund.  However, the court ruled that Mrs. Boone could receive funds prior to being approved for the pension.  She just couldn’t accept any more money from the fund after being awarded the pension.

Officer Boone’s case is both tragic and illustrative.  What struck you about this story?  You can leave a comment on this or any post in the comment section below.

Sources: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 13, 1893 edition, p. 5, May 17, 1893, p. 10, June 22, 1893, p. 1 and August 1, 1893, p.1

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