FRIDAY, OCT. 25, 1940


William Speer, 21, Is Rushed To Dunn Hospital

William Speer, who fired a rifle shot into his head at about 12:10 o'clock this afternoon, passed away at 3 o'clock this afternoon at the Dunnhospital. Using a borrowed .22 calibre rifle, William Speer, about 21, living at 1313 Twenty-second street, fired a lead slug into his head shortly afternoon today. He was rushed to the Dunn hospital in a critical condition. A late bulletin from the hospital is to the effect that he "is holding his own."

The shooting occurred at the Bert Griffin home near the Bedford Saddle Club barn east of the city on the Tunnelton road. Speer had borrowed a quarter from a friend here in town to hire a taxi to take him to the Griffin home. Speer told the driver, Rex Swago, that he was going to do some shooting while out in the country and then just as the driver let the passenger out, Speer said, "Well, I guess I'll just blow my brains out while I'm out here."

The taxi driver kept thinking of that statement as he returned to town and after arriving here notified Bert Griffin, who was here in his home, but when he arrived found that he was too late to prevent the shooting.

The fatal shot was heard by at least three persons--Irene Kinder, sister of Mrs. Griffin, who was alone at the house when the young man arrived; Oliver Flinn, east Sixteenth street, and Charles H. Lewis of French Lick, both of whom are employed at the Saddle Club's barn.

Miss Kinder was sitting on the front steps of the Griffin home and Speer had gone around to the back door and stepped inside to get a gun, belonging to George Griffin, brother of Bert. Apparently Speer was sitting on the edge of a stone walk when he pulled the trigger, for the body fell backwards.

Miss Kinder stated this afternoon that she heard the shot and looked around the corner of the house and saw the prone body. She ran to him and saw what he had done and then ran to the Saddle barn and called Flinn and Lewis. The latter called the Day-Carter & Roach ambulance, which responded at once and took the injured lad to the hospital.

Bert Griffin reached home in time to call a physician and ask him to be at the hospital when the patient arrived. The victim had a pistol in his pocket. When found, the rifle was lying across Speer's chest and blood was running back into his hat. The shot entered his head slightly above and back of the temple in the edge of the hair.

Speer and other friends of the Griffin family frequently go to the home and use the rifles there for target shooting. When the two men at the saddle barn head the shot they thought nothing of the noise until Irene Kinder came running for their help. Speer was employed at the Bill and Betty Tavern on Sixteenth street.


SATURDAY, OCT. 26, 1940


Coroner Examines Witnesses In Death Of William Speer, Gun Victim. While no official verdict has been returned in the coroner's inquest into the death of William James Speer, 23, Dr. Rolan E. Wynne today held that the tragedy was a case of suicide when the youth allegedly sent a bullet from a rifle into his brain. He died at 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon in Dunn Memorial hospital, three hours after the tragedy occurred. No positive motive was established today, until other witnesses were examined by Dr. Wynnn.

Speer was a native of this county and well known in Bedford. He was born October 29, 1918, the son of Homer and May Campbell Speer, and was married on July 9 of this year to Ethel Yaney. Besides the widow he leaves his parents, four sisters, Mrs. Emory Easton, Indianapolis, Mrs. Edward Mancini, Detroit, Miss Minnie Speer, Detroit, and Mrs. Dillard Lewis, Bedford; two brothers Duard and Roy Speer of Bedford; the grandfather, James Campbell, Bedford, and several other relatives.

Funeral services will be held on Sunday afternoon at 3 o'clock from Sherwood and Ferguson chapel, with burial in Beech Grove cemetery. The remains will lie in state at the chapel after 4 o'clock this afternoon.